Baylor Press Release
By: Kyle Robarts
WACO, Texas – One of the most accomplished individuals in basketball will add Naismith Basketball “Hall of Famer” to her resume. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey was introduced as a part of an eight-member 2020 class to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Saturday on ESPN.
Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Eddie Sutton and Barbara Stevens will join Mulkey as members of the class. Plans are in place for the enshrinement ceremony, Aug. 28 in Springfield, Mass.
Mulkey remains the only individual to win a national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach. A point guard for the Lady Techsters, Mulkey won back-to-back national championships for Louisiana Tech with an AIAW title in 1981, followed by the inaugural NCAA Championship in 1982.
As an assistant for Leon Barmore at Louisiana Tech, the Lady Techsters won the NCAA Tournament again in 1988, in Mulkey’s third year on staff. After 12 additional seasons with Barmore, she was announced as the head coach at Baylor, April 1, 2000.
From there, she took a program with no prior NCAA Tournament experience to 18 appearances in the last 20 seasons, including three NCAA championships in 2005, 2012 and 2019. Mulkey has built a perennial power in Waco, Texas, with Baylor joining UConn and Tennessee as the only programs in NCAA history with three or more titles.
Mulkey’s induction will be as a coach, and she has been nominated as both a coach and player on numerous occasions. She was also a finalist in the coach category in 2018.
Her long and illustrious career is no stranger to hall of fames. Mulkey has previous inductions into the National High School Hall of Fame (1985), Louisiana High School Hall of Fame (1986), Louisiana Sports Writers Hall of Fame (1990), Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame (1992), Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2000), CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame (2003), Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame (2007) and Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2010).
Mulkey’s teams at Baylor have won a total of 21 Big 12 championships between the regular season and conference tournaments. The Lady Bears’ 2020 regular-season title was the 10th straight for the program and the 11th overall.
The only season Baylor missed the NCAA Tournament under Mulkey came in 2002-03 when she led the Lady Bears to the WNIT Finals. Since then, Baylor has 14 trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, nine stops in the Elite Eight and has reached the Final Four, four times. Baylor’s 2019-20 season concluded with the Lady Bears projected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the national postseason.
This season, Mulkey notched her 600th career victory in her 700th career game when Baylor defeated Texas Tech in Lubbock, Feb. 18. That made the 20th-year head coach the fastest NCAA Division I coach, man or woman, to reach the milestone.
Mulkey has won “National Coach of the Year” eight times in her career, and she has been selected as Big 12 Coach of the Year eight times, including three-straight.
Her 604-101 record in 20 seasons as head coach carries a career-winning percentage of .857. That marks second among active Division I coaches and third all-time behind only UConn’s Geno Auriemma and her former head coach, boss and colleague, Barmore.
Mulkey’s induction into Naismith is known to be just the third connection with Baylor University. Barmore served as an assistant under Mulkey from 2008-11 after retiring as head coach at Louisiana Tech in 2002. He was inducted to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2003. Baylor alumnus Jody Conradt, who later served as the head coach at Texas, was a four-year letterman at BU before the school recognized it as a varsity sport. Conradt, who was named to the Baylor Wall of Honor last fall, was inducted in 1998.
Mulkey becomes one of five active NCAA Division I women’s college basketball head coaches in the Naismith Hall of Fame, joining UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, Rutgers’ Vivian Stringer and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer.
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT, LINDA LIVINGSTONE, PHD
“On behalf of Baylor University and Lady Bears fans nationwide, we congratulate Coach Kim Mulkey on her well-deserved selection into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This is such a tremendous honor in recognition of her significant achievements on the basketball court as a player, assistant coach and head coach. She is so much more than the leader of our defending national champion women’s basketball program. Baylor is proud of Coach Mulkey for how she positively shapes the lives of our women’s basketball student-athletes, preparing them as champions on the court, in the classroom, in the community and ultimately in life.”
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS, MACK RHOADES
“It is only fitting that the highest honor in basketball is being bestowed upon Kim Mulkey today with her selection to the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Baylor University and its athletics department joins in with the basketball world today in congratulating Coach Mulkey, her players and staff, past and present, for this tremendous achievement. We are thankful for her trailblazing leadership in building an elite program at Baylor and preparing champions for life.”