Baylor coach Kim Mulkey reached 600 career wins in fewer games (700) than any other Division I men’s or women’s coach with the No. 2 Lady Bears’ 77-62 victory over Texas Tech on Tuesday night in Lubbock, Texas.
Mulkey, 57, gathered her Baylor players for a quick chat before Queen Egbo grabbed the coach around the waist and hoisted her in the air.
Mulkey, who has three national championships in her 20 seasons at Baylor, now has a 600-100 record and an average of 30 wins per season.
“Thirty wins, 20 years, I can’t comprehend that,” said Mulkey, the only women’s coach to win national titles as a player — with Louisiana Tech — and coach. “I’m thinking about the next game. The next championship. To put it in perspective, I’m humbled. But coaches don’t stop and smell the roses really until they retire. How much I have left in the old tank, I don’t know. But I’m not on empty.”
The Lady Bears broke open a tie game by scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter. They extended a pair of Big 12 records with their 54th consecutive league win and 43rd straight road victory in conference play.
“That’s a remarkable thing to do,” Te’a Cooper said of her coach’s milestone after scoring 11 points and adding seven assists. “I’m happy for her and everything she’s done. It’s just amazing to be a part of it.”
Adolph Rupp won four national championships and 876 games overall with the Kentucky men from 1930 to 1972. His 600th win came in his 704th game, in 1959.
After winning national championships as a player and an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech, Mulkey became Baylor’s coach in 2000. The Lady Bears were national champions in 2005, 2012 and last season.
UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma has won 11 national championships and 1,083 games in his 35 years with the Huskies. His 600th win came in his 716th game in 2006.
Mulkey last week became a finalist in the coach category for the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame for the second time in three years. There are eight finalists for the 2020 class, which will be announced April 4.
“I know what being a player means to a coach,” Mulkey said. “And these kids mean the world to me. And not just this team. And not just the championship teams. I go back to that very first team that I inherited and how hard they played and we made the NCAA tournament for the first time in the first year.”
Mulkey couldn’t help but notice that her noteworthy win came on a court once ruled by Marsha Sharp, who led the Lady Raiders to the 1993 national title with star Sheryl Swoopes. Texas Tech once ruled Baylor as well. But with their 22 straight victories, the Lady Bears have evened the series between the schools at 47-all.
Baylor players wore hats and T-shirts commemorating Mulkey’s 600th win.
“I wish and hope that our program can probably mail one to every player I’ve ever coached because that’s who needs to be wearing them,” said Mulkey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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