On Tuesday, Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey became the fastest coach in Division I history, men or women’s, to hit 600 wins, doing so in just 700 games. The landmark win came against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, with a 77-62 victory. Her milestone dethrones legendary Kentucky men’s basketball coach Adolph Rupp, who led the Wildcats from 1930 to 1972 and reached 600 wins in his 704th game.
Her resume as a coach at Baylor already includes three national championships, coming in 2005, 2012 and 2019, and she is the only woman to ever win one as both a player and a coach, as she was on the Louisiana Tech national title team in 1982. Now she holds an overall record of 600-100, averaging 30 wins a year.
Mulkey’s latest accomplishment is even a lot for her to process and while this achievement is nice, there is a bigger picture. She said (via ESPN):
“Thirty wins, 20 years, I can’t comprehend that. 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.”
Her player, who showered her with Gatorade when she headed to the locker room after the game, had high praise for their leader.
Lady Bears guard Te’a Cooper said, “That’s a remarkable thing to do. I’m happy for her and everything she’s done. It’s just amazing to be a part of it.”
Nina Davis posted that she believes her coach should be a Hall of Famer, and that honor may come sooner than later. Mulkey is a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 2020 class, which is set to be announced on April 4. This is the second time in three years she has been a finalist.
Mulkey’s team wore T-shirts and hats that commemorated the 600th win and after the game, Mulkey noted that every player she ever coached is to thank for this accomplishment.
“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,” she said.
Looking back on her career so far, she focused on what stood out the most. “These kids mean the world to me. And not just this team. And not just the championship teams,” Mulkey said. “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.”
In 2000 Mulkey took over as Baylor’s coach after 16 years as an assistant at Louisiana Tech.