LSU AD Scott Woodward talks about hiring Kim Mulkey, Jay Johnson and Brian Kelly at SEC meetings

LSU athletics director Scott Woodward introduced new football coach Brian Kelly in December of 2022. PHOTO BY: Jonathan Mailhes

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward has made some of the biggest coaching hires in the storied history of LSU sports.

He helped bring Kim Mulkey to coach the women’s basketball team after winning three championships with Baylor, brought Jay Johnson in for baseball after he led Arizona to multiple College World Series and managed to hire Brian Kelly to coach the football team after he led Notre Dame to the College Football Playoff.

Johnson and Mulkey have brought national titles to LSU in their first two seasons and Kelly helped guide the Tigers to an SEC championship game.

At the SEC spring meetings in Florida, Woodward spoke about what makes a good coaching hire and how he pulled off some of his biggest hires with Paul Finebaum.

“Two things that are really important to me, Paul, and they’re obvious,” Woodward said. “One of them is their past record. Now, Kim (Mulkey) has been a winner everywhere she’s been, whether it’s valedictorian of her high school class or winning at a junior level in little league softball with the boys, or even through college as an Olympian. Everything she’s done, she’s won. Brian Kelly, same thing. Won at Grand Valley State. Won at Cincinnati. Won at Notre Dame. It’s hard to screw that up. Then, the second thing that’s really important to me is I try to hire guys that are a lot smarter than me. Really high IQs. Kim is smart as hell. BK is smart as hell. Jay Johnson, you know. They have that and I kind of think that when you have that formula that you just feel it. That’s just how I’ve always done it and I kind of focus on it in a big way.”

LSU football has yet to win national titles like the baseball and women’s basketball team have, but there’s no denying that the team is in a better spot than it was before Kelly came in. LSU hadn’t had a winning season in two years before Woodward hired Kelly and now has back-to-back 10-win seasons.

Woodward is also responsible for another hire that LSU fans likely enjoyed. He helped sway Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M. Fisher coached for six seasons for LSU’s rival before ultimately getting himself fired and receiving a record setting buyout.

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Will Nickel

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