There was never any doubt Tickfaw native Kim Mulkey had the credentials to be elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Her playing and coaching resume consists of 15 Final Fours, six national championships, four state championships and 30.2 wins per season for 44 years as college and assistant coach as well as a college and high school player.
It’s why the newly hired LSU women’s basketball coach shouldn’t have been awed Saturday in Uncasville, Conn. when she was officially inducted as a member of the Hall’s eight-member Class of 2020 that included the late Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Rudy Tomjanovich.
But the 58-year old Mulkey was clearly moved to be among the giants of the sport and truly humbled.
“All of us honored here tonight understand we’re only here because of one of life’s greatest ironies,” Mulkey said. “We get the credit when it should be shared by and with so many others.”
Mulkey thanked all her Baylor players and assistant coaches who helped her win three national championships.
She also spoke of the trio of college coaches she played for and worked under, including former Louisiana Tech co-head coach Sonja Hogg and 2003 Hall of Fame inductee Leon Barmore and also 2000 Hall of Fame inductee Pat Summitt who was Mulkey’s coach in the 1984 Olympics.
“Sonja Hogg recruited me, and we won the very first NCAA title in 1982,” Mulkey said. “Naismith Hall of Famer Leon Barmore took me as a raw, untested 23-year-old assistant coach and we won another national title in 1988.”
Mulkey recognized contingents in the audience from Louisiana Tech, Baylor and LSU. She also recognized her family, particularly her mother Dru.
“She’s the one who said it was OK to dress up and look feminine and be tough as hell on the basketball court,” Mulkey said. “Mom, I thank you for that.”