by Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Sports Director
“Can you believe there’s only one institution I would have left for, and they made the commitment, and I’m home?”
A lot of Baylor fans can’t believe it.
Kim Mulkey, in her introductory press conference at LSU, was quick to note that her heart’s desire was always to return to Louisiana. Her phone call with LSU athletic director Scott Woodward was all of 10 minutes, and Mulkey was set on joining the Lady Tigers.
“Our conversation was maybe 10, no more than 15 minutes,” Mulkey said. “All he said was ‘Kim, it’s time to come home.’ It was more compassion and care than anything else. I think Scott and I were on the same page in that it wasn’t just about basketball. It was about a lot of things that he thought I could help him with, not just LSU but in the state of Louisiana.”
Walking out to flames and an arena full of applause, it was clear that LSU’s fanbase was chomping at the bit to see Mulkey’s brand of basketball on the floor in the Maravich Center. In terms of basketball talk, Mulkey got right to the point. She came to Baton Rouge to win national championships, something LSU has never done. The Lady Tigers have been to three Final Fours, all coming prior to 2010, but none of their teams have ever been able to get over the hump. Mulkey, a three time champion at Baylor, looks to remedy that.
“In talking about national championships, it doesn’t happen overnight,” Mulkey said. “Let me remind you, rabid LSU fans that can be crazy and want coaches fired tomorrow; give it time. Give it time. But I can assure you that’s what I came here to do.”
Not one to dance around the subject, Mulkey was quick to discuss her time with Baylor.
“We won 23 Big 12 championships, including regular season and tournament,” Mulkey said. “We won three national championships. We graduated every player that finished in a uniform for me. I had many opportunities to leave. This is the only one that could get me to leave, thank you again for bringing me back home.”
For as long as Mulkey was in Waco, and for as much of a powerhouse as she built, Texas was never anything but the workplace.
“If you have followed my career, I’ve said it numerous times: No matter where I go to coach, no matter where my career takes me, Louisiana is my home. I can’t wait to have some Ponchatoula strawberries. I can’t wait to have some crawfish. You think I’m being funny, but it’s God’s truth.”
Mulkey also revealed she will be bringing a portion of her staff from Baylor with her to LSU. Key staff members like assistant athletic director and head of operations Johnny Derrick, coordinator of operations Jennifer Roberts, associate director of operations Jordin Westbrook, assistant coach Kaylin Rice and assistant recruiting coordinator Daphne Mitchell will join Mulkey. While those losses are no small dent in Baylor’s staff, associate head coach Bill Brock remains, as does assistant coach Sytia Miller. Athletic director Mack Rhoades has also begun a nationwide search for the next head coach of the Lady Bears.