Mulkey a Naismith Hall of Fame Finalist

(Photo by Austin McAfee/file)
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LOS ANGELES Baylor women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey is one of four women’s committee finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will be included on the ballot for the 2018 Class, the organization announced at NBA All-Star Weekend on Saturday afternoon.

“If I’m ever fortunate to make it into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, I hope Baylor will help me pay for every kid I’ve ever coached to go there because I’m only as good as they are,” said Mulkey. “I’m only as good as those kids, and I’m only as good as those coaches who bring me those kids. I may tweak a little thing here or there or I might add a little motivation and pump them up, but at the end of the day they make a coach. I’m humbled, I’m honored and all those things you can say… It’s a Baylor deal as far as I’m concerned. It belongs to Baylor if I make it into the Hall of Fame.”

Mulkey, who is one of 13 overall finalists, is the only person to win a national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach and one of three to win national championships as a player and head coach (Bob Knight and Dean Smith). She has led Baylor to two NCAA National Championships in 2005 and 2012, the first in Lady Bear history, in addition to 16 Big 12 Championships, eight in the regular season and eight in the postseason tournament.

In her 18th season with the Lady Bears, Mulkey has compiled a 531-97 (.846) record, accounting for 57.5 percent of the program’s 924 all-time victories.

After guiding Baylor to a perfect 40-0 season and a national title in 2011-12, Mulkey was named Consensus National College Coach of the Year, earning Naismith Coach of the Year, Associated Press College Basketball Coach of the Year and USBWA National Coach of the Year. The Hammond, La., native has led the Lady Bears to three Final Fours, eighth Elite Eights and 12 Sweet Sixteens in 16 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Mulkey, a five-time Big 12 Coach of the Year (2005, 2009, 2011-16), has been inducted to the National High School Hall of Fame (1985), Louisiana High School Hall of Fame (1986), Louisiana Sports Writers Hall of Fame (1990), Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame (1992), Women’s Baketball Hall of Fame (2000), CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame (2003), Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame (2007) and Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2009).

“To be named a Finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible distinction and we are proud to honor those who have made a tremendous impact on the game over the years,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Honors Committee now has the challenging task of selecting this year’s Enshrinees, which we look forward to announcing at the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.”

The complete list of nine finalists from the North American Screening Committee includes: players Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Chris Webber; coaches Charles “Lefty” Driesell and Rudy Tomjanovich; and referee Hugh Evans. The four finalists from the Women’s Screening Committee includes: players Katie Smith and Tina Thompson, coach Kim Mulkey, and Wayland Baptist University as a team.

The Class of 2018 will be announced on Saturday, March 31 at a press conference in San Antonio prior to the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

If inducted, Mulkey would be the first player or coach from Baylor to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Enshrinees from the Direct Elect Committees are also recognized at the NCAA Men’s Final Four and include Early African-American Pioneers, International, Contributors and Veterans. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, September 6-8, 2018. Tickets for the various Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Enshrinement events are on sale at