When Kim Mulkey left Baylor for LSU, she kept the reason for the move to herself. And it will remain under wraps, at least for now.
“Why did I leave Baylor? Someday I’ll tell the real reason why I left Baylor, but it serves no purpose now,” she said during a recent interview on “The Trey Gowdy Podcast.”
The legendary basketball coach won three national titles in 21 seasons with the Bears, but she departed for LSU ahead of the 2021-22 season. She won the fourth NCAA tournament championship of her career in her second season with the Tigers.
Mulkey, 61, grew up in Tickfaw, Louisiana, and played college basketball at Louisiana Tech, so coaching for LSU has served as a homecoming. While she alluded to deeper reasons for the change, she declined to delve into them. But she did make one thing clear: Her move was not based on money.
“My former players at Baylor, the majority of them were at that national championship game this past year in the locker room with us,” she said. “They know Coach Mulkey usually makes a decision based upon something where she puts a lot of thought into it.
“But I can tell you what it was not: It was not more money. I did not come to LSU because they gave me more money than Baylor. Baylor took care of me financially. It was just a feeling in my gut that said, you need to go help your state. And I came back to LSU and, goodness gracious, what we have done in two years is nuts.”
When asked about whether she would be honored with a statue on the Baylor campus, an honor she recently received from her alma mater, she again referenced a distance from her former program, though she also expressed a desire for its success.
“You know good and well there’s nothing on that campus, and I don’t ever expect there to be anything,” she said of Baylor. “I want that program to continue to do good things. I want it to represent all the previous players that I got to coach there and continue to do good things. … Every place I’ve been, I’ve loved.”
And, after signing a new 10-year, $32 million deal with LSU, she is loving life with the Tigers, with no thought toward retirement.
“When I’m not putting a product on that floor that’s competitive, or I’m not able to give what I know needs to given, that’s when you retire,” she said. “And right now, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”