They say there’s no place like home.
Kim Mulkey, a three-time national champion at Baylor, is returning to her home state to coach the LSU women’s basketball team.
The school announced Sunday that Mulkey would be leaving Baylor to replace Nikki Fargas, who stepped down Saturday to pursue another (undisclosed) opportunity.
Mulkey grew up in Tickfaw, La. — less than an hour from the LSU campus. She won two national championships as a point guard for Louisiana Tech in 1981 and ’82 and she won another as an assistant coach at her alma mater in 1988.
Her son, Kramer Robertson, played shortstop for the Tigers and was a part of the last LSU baseball team to reach the College World Series in 2017.
“Kim Mulkey is a champion and a Hall of Famer, and we are thrilled to welcome her home,” LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said in a school release Sunday. “Her accomplishments are unprecedented. Her passion is unrivaled, and her commitment to winning in all aspects of life is unparalleled. We look forward to working with her as she instills that championship culture at LSU.”
Those accomplishments include national championships at Baylor in 2005, 2012 and 2019. Last season, the Bears finished 27-3, won the Big 12 Conference for the 11th straight season and reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Mulkey’s tenure, the program had never been to the NCAA Tournament.
Meanwhile, LSU’s first Final Four came in 2004 under coach Sue Gunter. The Tigers reached three straight Final Fours from 2005-07 with Pokey Chatman at the helm. Since then, the team has not been to a Final Four since 2008, when it was coached by Van Chancellor.
It appears that LSU is willing to pay a lot of money to get back to its winning ways. The Daily Advertiser is reporting that Mulkey will earn $2.5 million annually, a salary matching that of men’s basketball coach Will Wade and only less than football coach Ed Oregeron ($6.8 million) at LSU.
It’s also significantly more than LSU was paying Fargas, who made $711,988 this past season.
With Mulkey’s departure, Baylor now has one of the biggest head coaching vacancies in college sports, leaving a lot of questions as to who will replace her.