When Baylor’s Lady Bears returned to the pinnacle of NCAA women’s basketball Sunday night, it was a triumph for four Louisiana Sports Hall of Famers.
Coach Kim Mulkey is the youngest person ever inducted in the LSHOF, enshrined in 1990 (when she was 28) on the strength of her remarkable playing career at Hammond High School, Louisiana Tech and for Team USA as an Olympic gold medalist in 1984.
The cornerstone of Mulkey’s third national championship team at Baylor was senior center Kalani Brown, whose parents both played basketball at Louisiana Tech while Mulkey was an assistant coach for the Lady Techsters, then coached by LSHOF (2004) and Basketball Hall of Famer Leon Barmore.
Brown’s father, P.J. Brown, went on to a 15-year NBA career after he was a second-round draft pick in 1992. He was inducted in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
Key to Mulkey’s move from her alma mater to become Baylor’s head coach in 2000 was another cornerstone of the Lady Techsters program, 2009 LSHOF inductee Sonja Hogg, who was in 2000 transitioning from coaching the Baylor team to a fundraising role she still holds at the university.
Mulkey is the only person to win an NCAA Final Four championship as a player (1982 with Louisiana Tech), assistant coach (1988 with the Lady Techsters) and head coach (2005, 2012, 2019) at Baylor. She honored her alma mater by wearing a sky blue suit for Sunday night’s national championship game.