When Kim Mulkey stepped off the plane Monday, she was greeted by many of the coaches she'll work side by side with at LSU. Paul Mainieri and Will Wade were among the first to greet the new women's basketball coach.
Mainieri has gotten to know the family well over the years coaching Mulkey's son, shortstop Kramer Robertson, for a number of years. He was one of the many people Mulkey thanked in her introductory press conference and in typical Mainieri fashion, he provided a long winded answer on his thoughts about the hire for the Tigers.
“It's an exciting time for her. It's an exciting time for her family. But it's also a very exciting time for LSU and for the community of Baton Rouge and for the state of Louisiana," Mainieri said. "I think she's really excited. I think it's something that probably is really going to rejuvenate her at this point in her career. I read her bio yesterday. It made me dizzy, her accomplishments. They made me look like a Little Leaguer compared to my bio. I've never seen anybody have so much success in a career. I think she's got one last push in her career to do something special at LSU. She's excited. She told me she was.
“This is a home run hire. She’s obviously a lightning rod for controversy because she’s not afraid to say what she thinks. But I think players respond to that and admire her for that. She automatically comes in with her ability to recruit players. She’s top five. It elevates them (LSU) right away in areas where they were lacking.”
What came as a bit of a surprise of many was how integral a role D-D Breaux played in the hiring process of Mulkey. Since retiring as the gymnastics coach before the 2020 season after 43 seasons, Breaux has become an ambassador at LSU sporting events and around the athletic department.
Mulkey, who had followed Breaux's career from a distance, didn't really know her that well before a week ago. But based on the number of conversations she's had with Breaux about coming to LSU, she feels like the two have known each other for a lifetime.
“It won’t take long if history is any teacher to know LSU is going to have success. Kim Mulkey only took five seasons at Baylor to win them their first national championship," former LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux said. "Her teams take on her personality. There’s a toughness there, a relentlessness, especially on the defensive end of the floor. If you watch the SEC, you know it’s a league where defense matters. It’s only a matter of time, a short amount of time I think, before we see LSU back on the national stage, before we see LSU competing for SEC championships and national championships.”
While making the rounds throughout the LSU campus, even coach Ed Orgeron met up with Mulkey to congratulate her personally on the move home. Orgeron and Mulkey both have that championship pedigree and he believes Mulkey will be an amazing addition to the LSU coaching hierarchy.
"She was fantastic, someone I've followed all of my career. She and I are the same age," Orgeron said on Off the Bench. "She played at Louisiana Tech, what a great coach, a great person and great hire for Louisiana State University. Look at yesterday, we were all over the country at a time where not much is going on. She's gonna be great for the state of Louisiana, people will want to come here. We're gonna have to take our recruits to basketball games, watch a championship team play."
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.