Who is Kim Mulkey? What to know of LSU women's basketball coach feuding with Washington Post

LSU women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey is in the headlines — but not necessarily for the fact her Tigers team is aiming to win its second consecutive national championship title.

Traditionally known for being in headlines for her outlandish outfits, uncensored personality and success as a coach, Mulkey is in headlines for a different reason this time: The Hall of Fame coach, who led the Tigers to the program's first national championship title last season, has become the top storyline in sports in the last 48 hours after rumors began to circulate on Friday that The Washington Post is planning to releasing an article about her.

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Mulkey, who is one of the more successful coaches in her profession, spoke from a prepared statement at the start of her Saturday news conference, which she held before the Tigers' second-round game vs. 11 seed Middle Tennessee State.

The Tigers coach bashed both The Washington Post and an unnamed reporter, saying she was prepared to sue the news organization if it published anything "false" about her, adding that she hired a "defamation law firm" to help her in that endeavor.

In so doing, Mulkey expanded interest in not only the story, but also herself from well beyond college basketball circles. Here's what you need to know about Mulkey, the latest on the incident involving The Washington Post and more:

Who is Kim Mulkey?

Mulkey is in her third season at the helm of the LSU women's basketball program, a position she has held since 2021.

The Tickfaw, Louisiana, native was a star guard at Louisiana Tech, where she helped lead the program to four Final Fours and two national titles: the AIAW championship in 1981, and the inaugural NCAA championship in 1982. She began her coaching career at Louisiana Tech as an assistant coach in 1985 before taking the Baylor head coaching job in 2000.

There, Mulkey led the Lady Bears to a 632-104 overall record, a run that included three NCAA championships, through the 2020-21 season. She joined LSU ahead of the 2021-22 season, a year after leading Baylor to an Elite Eight run in the 2021 Women's NCAA Tournament.

While her outlandish outfits have helped her popularity, she is one of the most successful coaches in women's college basketball history. She has led her teams — Baylor and LSU — to four combined national championships and five Final Fours. She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Kim Mulkey coaching record, career

Before becoming the head coach at LSU and Baylor, Mulkey served as both an assistant and an associate head coach at her alma mater, Louisiana Tech from 1985 to 2000.

During her time in 21 seasons in Waco, Texas leading the Lady Bears program, Mulkey built the Baylor program into a national powerhouse. She led Baylor to 19 NCAA Tournaments in 20 seasons, which consisted of four Final Fours and three national championship titles. The NCAA Women's Tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mulkey then left Baylor for LSU in 2021, a move that shocked the college women's basketball world, replacing her predecessor Nikki Fargas. Under Mulkey in her first season, the Tigers went 26-6 overall and finished second in the SEC, which marked the greatest turnaround in SEC history by a first-year head coach. LSU, who led the SEC in scoring offense (73.7 points per game) and a 6-1 record against ranked opponents, fell to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament that season.

Last season, the Tigers took a gigantic jump in their rebuild under Mulkey. Despite nine new additions to her team — which included star forward Angel Reese — Mulkey led LSU to an unchartered territory as the Tigers defeated Iowa for the program's first national championship title. The Tigers were one of the best offenses in college basketball last season, ranking fifth in the nation in scoring (82.3 points per game).

Mulkey is a seven-time national champion as a player, assistant coach and head coach — and the only person in college basketball history, men's and women's, to win a national championship title as each.

Here's a full breakdown of her coaching history and record:

  • Louisiana Tech (1985-96): Assistant coach

  • Louisiana Tech (1996-2000): Associate head coach

  • Baylor (2000-21): 632-104

  • LSU (2021-present): 89-13

What did Kim Mulkey say about The Washington Post?

Mulkey spent roughly four minutes of her news conference on Saturday leading into Sunday's game against Middle Tennessee talking about a rumored Washington Post story about her that is expected to publish some time during the NCAA Tournament.

The 61-year-old coach mentioned that the reporter from The Washington Post, has been working on this story for close to two years. She added that she has declined to sit down with him for an interview multiple times. She claimed the news organization then reached out earlier in the week with "more than two dozen questions, demanding a response by Thursday, right before we're scheduled to tip off."

She claimed to assembled media in Baton Rouge that the reporter had also reached out to former assistant coaches and players for comment on Mulkey over the last two years. She also alleged the reporter told two former assistant coaches that Mulkey was cooperating with the organization for the story, when she wasn't.

Mulkey threatened The Washington Post — which declined to comment when reached by the USA TODAY Network — that she has hired "the best defamation law firm in the country" and is prepared to sue the if the article is posted with false information about her.

"Not many people are in a position to hold these kinds of journalists accountable, but I am, and I'll do it," Mulkey said.

REQUIRED READING: Kim Mulkey press conference: Full transcript of what LSU women's coach said on impending Washington Post story

Who is Kent Babb?

In her prepared Saturday statement, Mulkey potentially identified The Washington Post reporter by saying they had written a "hit piece" on LSU football coach Brian Kelly.

"I told this reporter two years ago that I didn't appreciate the hit job he wrote on (LSU football coach) Brian Kelly, and that's why I wasn't going to do an interview with him."

The person whom Mulkey referred to is reporter Kent Babb, who authored a Washington Post story on Jan. 8, 2022 titled, "In Baton Rouge, there’s a $100 million football coach and everyone else."

According to his profile on The Washington Post, Babb has worked on The Washington Post's sports desk since 2012 and is currently assigned to the outlets Sports and Society enterprise team. He confirmed to the Associated Press on Saturday that he is "working on a profile of Mulkey, but declined further comment."

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Kim Mulkey: Washington Post feud, LSU basketball coaching record, more