Kim Mulkey, a standout college basketball player with Louisiana Tech in the 1980s and current coach of the Baylor Lady Bears, earned a nod into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Mulkey won three NCAA women’s basketball championships as the head coach of Baylor. She also earned a championship as a player when Louisiana Tech won the inaugural Women’s March Madness tournament in 1982.
Mulkey, 57, joins the 2020 Class at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Other members of the 2020 Class include Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, and Barbara Stevens.
Mulkey has the rare distinction of being the only person in women’s college basketball history to win an NCAA championship as a player (La. Tech), an assistant coach (La. Tech), and head coach (Baylor).
Mulkey led her high school in Tickfaw, Louisiana to four straight state championships in the late 1970s. Louisiana Tech heavily recruited her, where she played for the Lady Techsters for four seasons.
Louisiana Tech won the AIAW Division I championship in 1981. At the time, the AIAW was the only postseason tournament for women’s college basketball. The NCAA created a separate March Madness tournament for women in 1982. Louisiana Tech won that event, defeating Cheyney University in the inaugural championship game.
After graduation in 1984, Mulkey became an assistant coach with La. Tech. She remained at La. Tech as an assistant and associate head coach until she accepted the Baylor head coaching job in 2000.
— Baylor Lady Bears (@BaylorWBB) February 19, 2020
3 Titles in Waco
When Mulkey moved to Waco, Texas and took over at Baylor in 2000, the Lady Bears were the worst team in the Big 12. Within five years, Baylor climbed out of the Big 12 basement to win the national championship. And within 20 years, Mulkey would earn her ticket into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Baylor, under Mulkey, won March Madness in 2005, 2012, and 2019.
Mulkey became only the third coach to win three championships in women’s college basketball. She joined the legendary Pat Summit (Tennessee) and Geno Auriemma (UConn). Auriemma won 11 titles with UConn between 1995-2016, while Summit won eight championships between 1987 and 2008 with the Tennessee Lady Vols.
This season, Mulkey became the fastest coach (in both men’s and women’s basketball) to win 600 games. She achieved that feat with Baylor in 700 games.
“Thirty wins, 20 years? I can’t comprehend that,” said Mulkey. “To put it in perspective, I’m humbled. But coaches don’t stop and smell the roses really until they retire. How much I have left in the old tank, I don’t know. But I’m not on empty.”
Mulkey and Baylor were looking for a shot to defend their title and win March Madness in back-to-back years. However, the coronavirus pandemic canceled both the men’s and women’s versions of the annual college basketball tournament.