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LSU’s Kim Mulkey wins AP Coach of the Year for third time | Sports activities



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kim Mulkey knew she had a rebuilding challenge when she took over as coach of LSU this season.

The longtime Baylor coach shortly was in a position to orchestrate an unimaginable turnaround for the Tigers, who gained 26 video games — 17 greater than final season.

Mulkey was honored Thursday as The Associated Press girls’s basketball Coach of the Year, the third time she has gained the award. Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw are the one different coaches to have completed the feat.

“I’m certainly honored to be in that group,” Mulkey stated. “This doesn’t happen without players who allow you to coach them and buy into a system. We had a really, really good year.”

Mulkey acquired 10 votes from the 30-member nationwide media panel that votes on the AP Top 25 every week. South Carolina Dawn Staley was second with eight votes. Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer acquired three whereas Nicki Collen, who changed Mulkey at Baylor, acquired two together with Wes Moore of N.C. State. Five coaches acquired one vote apiece.

The veteran coach shared the stage with AP Player of the Year Aliyah Boston, who she coached towards this 12 months.

Mulkey, who was stunned by her workforce final week who informed her she gained, thanked her coaches and individually named every of her gamers within the ceremony. She choked up when speaking about her household, who have been nonetheless in Texas.

LSU rose to No. 6 within the AP ballot and hosted the primary two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers misplaced to Ohio State within the second spherical and completed with greater than 25 wins for the primary time for the reason that 2007-08 season. Mulkey in contrast this season to her first at Baylor when she inherited a workforce that gained simply seven video games the 12 months earlier than she took over.

“You make goals that are realistic such as having a winning season,” she stated. “Beat your first ranked team, we’re going to celebrate that. In conference if we finish in the top half of SEC we can then potentially get to the NCAA Tournament. It sounds so simple. but you have to crawl before you can walk, and have to walk before you can run. We were just realistic.”

The Tigers went 13-3 within the powerful Southeastern Conference and had wins over Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Mulkey’s squad additionally performed South Carolina powerful, solely falling by six factors.

After the ceremony, Mulkey ran into Nikki Fargas, the coach she changed at LSU. The two hugged and had a 15-minute dialog. It was the primary time that they had talked since Mulkey acquired the job.

Mulkey grew up in Louisiana and gained nationwide titles with Louisiana Tech as each a participant and assistant coach earlier than a 21-year run at Baylor by which she gained three nationwide titles and have become the quickest coach in girls’s school basketball historical past to 600 victories, doing so in simply 700 video games. In 2020, she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Mulkey additionally gained AP Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2019 whereas at Baylor.

“I can’t name all the things that the team did this year but it was unbelievable,” she stated. “We were not supposed to do what we did in a year. That’s hard to do.”

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More AP protection of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP—Top25

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