By Foster Nicholas | Sports Writer
Just two years removed from her time in Waco, Kim Mulkey revamped the Louisiana State University program and led the Tigers to their first national title for either the women or men’s programs.
On Sunday, LSU knocked out the University of Iowa, 102-85, in Dallas, scoring the most points ever in a women’s national championship game. Before the Final Four even began, LSU Athletics and Mulkey displayed a billboard off of I-35 and 22nd St. in Waco, which sparked emotions among her former fanbase.
Not all Baylor fans were watching to cheer on the former coach of the then-Lady Bears. Mulkey left Baylor on shaky terms and the fanbase is often split on how it views her.
Waco native and Baylor sports fan, Grant Robinson, said he’s “glad she’s gone.”
“She outstayed her welcome at Baylor and I’m sure she’ll do the same at LSU,” Robinson said. “She won a championship and that’s all that matters, right?”
Fort Worth senior Calvin Tinson said it was a shame this year’s Final Four was one of the most-watched ever because of LSU and its success. Tinson added that Mulkey’s outfits reflect a selfish mindset from her.
“I’m happy for women’s basketball as a whole, the ratings were incredible and people actually watched,” Tinson said. “But Kim really needs to realize people aren’t watching because of her or her outfits.”
While Mulkey has garnered some backlash and distaste from some of her former athletes, she did have several Lady Bears in attendance over the weekend. The 60-year-old head coach has also caught heat for the way she handled Brittney Griner’s Russian detainment, as she said very little on the matter.
Mulkey has consistently produced wins on the court, but Waco freshman Jessica Erhart said it may not be in good-spirited fashion.
“No one can deny that Mulkey gets results,” Erhart said. “Her ability to coach a team to wins is impressive. But, how she gets those results seems questionable and concerning. I hope her players all feel safe to be the fullness of themselves around her, because good coaching in any sport is about much more than results.”
Even though some of the green and gold community are adamantly against Mulkey, she still has the hearts of many Baylor fans.
“I can’t be bitter even though I’m a Baylor fan,” Baylor alumnae Bryce Mackey said. “She deserves it and kudos to her. She’s one of the best coaches of all time no matter where she is.”