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For Kim Mulkey, Final Four feels like home – in Louisiana and in Texas

Kim Mulkey is bringing LSU back to the Final Four. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Kim Mulkey is headed home – well, her other home.

The LSU coach was born in Hammond, Louisiana, and played college basketball at Louisiana Tech before beginning her coaching career there. She also spent 21 years in Waco, Texas as the head coach at Baylor before leaving two years ago to return to Louisiana.

And now she’ll head back to Texas with LSU after leading the team to its first Final Four berth since 2008.

“I just wanted to come back to the state of Louisiana and come home,” she said after LSU’s 54-42 win over Miami in the Elite Eight, reflecting on her journey to that moment.

“But what really makes me smile is not cutting that net down, it’s looking around out there at all those LSU people, looking at that team I get to coach experience [the Final Four] for the first time. This is the first time any of them have ever been to a Final Four.”

While the Tigers brought her back to Louisiana, their NCAA Tournament run will end in a return to Texas. Mulkey still has a home in Waco, which is a little less than an hour and a half away from the site of the Final Four in Dallas. So the trip represents something of a homecoming, and not just for Mulkey.

Senior guard Alexis Morris will also head home in the team’s journey to the Final Four. Morris is a native of Beaumont, Texas, which is between Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Before LSU makes the trip to Dallas, the team will head back to Baton Rouge for a few days of rest and preparation. And only then will the reality of the Final Four berth sink in for Mulkey.

“It will hit me tonight when we’re on that plane going back to Baton Rouge, and I’m sitting with my feet propped up tomorrow eating crawfish and go, I’ve got to go back again, to go back to the state of Texas,” Mulkey said. “I’m going to see tons of just dear friends in the 21 years at Baylor that I made. I still have a home in Waco. I have a home in Baton Rouge. My grandchildren live in Waco. I guess they said, God did it, right?”