COLLEGE STATION, TX — There's been some big sports news coming out of Central Texas over the last 24 hours. Kim Mulkey is heading back home to the boot after leaving a lasting legacy with the Lady Bears basketball program at Baylor.
While the transfer may be sad for some, the news is sentimental for others.
The homecoming of Kim Mulkey is special for many, including a former coach and fellow competitor who calls Aggieland home, Texas A&M's Gary Blair.
Head coach of the Aggie Women's Basketball Program Gary Blair says, he took his first college coaching job at Louisiana Tech, where Kim Mulkey was a freshman.
"We won 2 national championships.. a second and a third and got upset in the Elite 8, so those were my 5 years with Kim. Then basically I took the head job at Stephen F. Austin and she took my job at LA Tech, where she stayed another 15 years," Coach Blair said.
Coach Blair says the two have known one another for nearly 40 years and have suited up and competed against one another many times. He says he's happy to see another great coach jump into the SEC.
"I think it just makes my job harder as a coach because we will play each other twice and we will recruit against one another, but it also makes me very proud to see a young lady go back home," Coach Blair added.
Coach Blair says when he left LA Tech he went to Arkansas where he coached for 8 years. When he left Arkansas, he left at 57 years old to come back home to Texas and to rebuild an A&M program that was at the bottom of the Big 12.
"Kim is leaving at 58 years old to go to a storied program that's been to 5 NCAA tournaments at LSU and it will not take her long because she is not rebuilding a program, all she's going to be is polishing the apple," Coach Blair said.
Coach Blair says he thinks in Kim's first year at LSU, he believes they will be a Top-25 team.
"Kim is a winner. She is going to win and she is going to win this next year at LSU. She will be coming in and will put her stamp on things right quick. The lady knows how to work, win and hire good people around her," Coach Blair added.
Coach Blair says instead of being upset about Kim's departure; the City of Waco should rejoice with what she's built there because it's pretty special.
"She built it very similar to how she played the game herself... Fiery... No contest at all. She worked hard on every little aspect of the game and how she taught her kids to play hard," Coach Blair added.
Playing hard, Coach Blair says, is the only way she did as a player and what she will continue to do as a coach.
"I'm sure this will be her last dance... However long she wants to coach. Remember, we came in and we switched about the same age. Tell her to get through 18 years.. I just did 18 years at A and M and I'm going again... Tell her I will see her when she's 75," Coach Blair said.
Coach Blair says having a team win at the highest level is special, but building a program.... that's something that lasts forever. He says that's what Baylor and Texas A and M both are doing.
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