Kim Mulkey earned AP Coach of the Year honors Thursday afternoon in Tampa. She has led the Baylor Lady Bears to a 27-game winning streak, as well as a No. 1 seed and a spot in Friday night’s national semifinal against the No. 2 seed Oregon Ducks (7 p.m. EST, ESPN).
On the court, she has few peers, winning 574 games in her career and ranking No. 2 among active Division I head coaches with a .853 winning percentage. She has 20 Big 12 Championships under her belt, 18 NCAA Tournament appearances and four Final Fours. She also took home the 2012 NCAA Championship.
Off the court, many will never let her or the Baylor faithful forget what she said in the wake of the school’s rape scandal, which centered around mismanagement of a reported 52 rapes over four years committed by football players. As the Lady Bears were routing Iowa in the Elite 8, Hawkeye faithful apparently started jeering Mulkey for what she said.
She said in Feb. 2017 that if Baylor fans and alumni heard people concerned about sending their daughters to Baylor, they should “knock them in the face.”
She later told people to move on from the scandal, saying that Baylor is going through what many other insitutions are going through.
“I work here every day. I’m in the know. And I’m tired of hearing it. The problems that we have at Baylor are no different than the problems at any other school in America. Period. Move on. Find another story to write.”
The amount of sexual assaults and rapes reported make this the largest scandal of this kind for a college insitution (far more than the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State).
She talked with espnW soon after to clarify that her call to violence was not meant to be taken literally.
“I hate that I used the remark about punching them in the face,” Mulkey said. “That was not literal. I was trying to make a point, to be firm in what you are saying back at them. I’m not a violent person. I apologize for the very poor choice of words.”
“My point was, ‘Please don’t paint, with a broad brush, the women at Baylor,'” Mulkey continued. “I didn’t think about what I was going to say. I looked at my players, and the little girls and the women who are cheering for them. And I spoke with a lot of emotion.”
As the concern wasn’t really about the women at Baylor, but rather the mismanagement of sexual assault, reporters pressed for her to clarify at the following postgame presser. She dodged the questions, saying all what she had to say was in the espnW article.
After the criticism persisted, she reiterated her sentiments on March 2, 2017.
“Awful things happened here,” she said. “We failed victims here. But I’m encouraged every day because I see what’s taking place to fix it.”
Diana Moscovitz of Deadspin detailed how Baylor slow-played much of the measures that Baylor was putting in place to correct the reporting protocol for sexual assault and rape. This includes:
- Not investigating all assault claims (Pepper Hamilton)
- Not conducting background checks on football players that were previous offenders
- Baylor officials calling whistleblower Patty Crawford a liar
- Lack of transparecy in what the Baylor athletic department administration failed to address
Mulkey was not part of any cover-up at Baylor. With that said, her words at the time hurt many affected by the issue of sexual assault around the nation.