Beat writers in Baton Rouge deserve raises.
With a resume that already includes three national championships and a Hall of Fame induction, Kim Mulkey has decided to leave Baylor to return home to Louisiana after turning the Bears’ women’s program into a national powerhouse.
“Kim Mulkey is a champion and a Hall of Famer, and we are thrilled to welcome her home,” said LSU’s AD Scott Woodward in a statement. “Her accomplishments are unprecedented, her passion is unrivaled, and her commitment to winning in all aspects of life — in the classroom, on the court, and in the community — is unparalleled. We look forward to working with her as she instills that championship culture at LSU.”
All of these things are true, along with the fact that Mulkey is problematic, as hell. Just a few weeks ago, Mulkey was in the news for suggesting that the NCAA do away with COVID-19 testing for the Final Four, because to her, the sport had come too far for it to all end before the final weekend.
“They need to dump the COVID testing. Wouldn’t it be a shame to keep COVID testing and then you got kids that test positive or something and they don’t get to play in the Final Four? So you just need to forget the COVID tests and get the four teams playing in each Final Four and go battle it out,” Mulkey said unprompted after Baylor lost to UConn in the Elite Eight.
Would she have been singing that same song if her team had won? Who knows. But, what we do know, is that earlier in the season she – one of the highest-paid coaches in the sport – was complaining about playing during a pandemic. Then, all of a sudden, she wanted teams to keep competing in that same pandemic, without being tested.
“The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar,” Mulkey said in January. “The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else.”
Here’s the part where I remind you that every time Mulkey made one of these comments it came after a loss.
This is who Mulkey has always been. She’s the kind of coach that can take a program from nothing to something, will win you a ton of games, and get her players into the pros. However, she’s also the kind of coach that isn’t an ally for more female coaches in the sport, will tell you to knock someone “right in the face” if they don’t want to send their daughter to a school with a horrendous history of handling rape cases and sexual assault allegations, and will tell her players to keep their sexuality a secret.
It sounds like Mulkey is going to fit right in at LSU.
Last month, Ed Orgeron was accused of ignoring sexual harassment allegations against former running back Derrius Guice. Last week, LSU banned Guice as he’s been intertwined with the school’s ongoing scandal with mishandling and covering up sexual assault allegations and cases that include former head coach Les Miles, who Orgeron worked under. Guice has been involved in at least three separate domestic violence incidents and has multiple sexual assault and harassment allegations against him.
And when COVID-19 was spreading before last season started, this is what Orgeron had to say about the health of his players.
“I think, not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it. I think, hopefully, that once you catch it, you don’t get it again. I’m not a doctor. I think they have that 90-day window, so most of the players that have caught it, we do feel like they’ll be eligible for games.”
And then, there’s Will Wade, the LSU basketball coach that took his team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after being caught on an FBI wiretap. Last year, an HBO documentary called The Scheme featured unreleased wiretap logs from the federal probe into college basketball, in which Wade was heard with middleman Christian Dawkins discussing player payments.
“100 percent talking about money,” Dawkins said about Wade in the documentary. “Just audacity, you gotta take your hat off to him, man. He, not only didn’t get charged for anything, not only did the government have all this information and evidence and nothing was happening on a criminal level, he also basically just said [expletive] you to the NCAA and to the university he worked for. Man, that was some G [expletive]. And he said [expletive] you to the people that wasn’t with him and he still got to keep his job and make millions of dollars. It’s like the perfect storm. This is the life. [Expletive], they’re paying him a lot money to win games, bro. … Will Wade is definitely a [expletive] gangster for what he did.”
After the documentary came out, LSU suspended Wade. He then doubled down and refused to talk to his bosses until the investigation was over. The bold decision worked, as Wade still has a job. And as far as we know, he still hasn’t talked to his bosses.
Kim Mulkey, Ed Orgeron, and Will Wade are all very good coaches. They’re also always caught up in some type of drama due to what they will, and won’t say. So often, we look for the adults in the room to step up whenever college kids get involved in some mess. But, what do you do when these three are the adults? LSU’s athletic department has an affinity for keeping problematic coaches on the payroll, which is why it’s never a slow news day in Baton Rouge.