Home News Profile on LSU HC Kim Mulkey details feud with family, players

Profile on LSU HC Kim Mulkey details feud with family, players

Head coach Kim Mulkey and her LSU squad were guaranteed to be in the spotlight Saturday, with the reigning champs taking on UCLA in a Sweet 16 matchup in Albany.

But hours before the two teams tipped off, the Washington Post published their anticipated profile of the LSU coach, detailing the 61-year-old’s Louisiana upbringings, sometimes rigid coaching style and her estrangement from her father and sister.

The profile also detailed Mulkey’s relationship with several gay players, including Brittney Griner, who played under the coach at Baylor during the 2009-10 to 2012-13 seasons.

When speaking with ESPN’s Holly Rowe before Saturday’s Sweet 16 matchup, Mulkey wasn’t aware of the release of the profile.

“You’re telling me something I didn’t know,” she told Rowe. “So you’re the bearer of good news or bad news or however you want to look at it.

“Are you really surprised? Are you really surprised by the timing of it,” Mulkey responded. “But I can tell you I haven’t read it, don’t know that I will read it. I’ll leave that up to my attorneys.”

The release of the article had been anticipated in the basketball world after the longtime coach threatened legal action against the newspaper in a presser before LSU’s second-round win against Middle Tennessee last week.

“The lengths he has gone to try to put a hit piece together,” Mulkey said last week about Washington Post reporter Kent Babb. “After two years of trying to get me to sit with him for an interview, he contacts LSU on Tuesday as we were getting ready for the first-round game of this tournament with more than a dozen questions, demanding a response … right before we’re scheduled to tip off. Are you kidding me?

“Not many people are in a position to hold these kinds of journalists accountable, but I am, and I’ll do it.”

The profile included interviews with former players and reports that detail Mulkey being “known to hold grudges and clash with players, including about their appearances and displays of their sexuality.”

The biggest public falling-out involved Mulkey and Griner, which revealed itself even more while the WNBA star was detained in Russia for nearly 300 days. Former LSU players under Mulkey told the Washington Post that individuals in the program avoided mentioning Griner during the time. They also avoided interacting with social media posts that supported Griner.

“I really was hoping that Kim would make a statement,” Mulkey’s former Louisiana Tech basketball teammate Mickie DeMoss told the publication. “Really hoping she would. You’ve got a kid that’s stuck in Russia; I mean, that’s bigger than any feud that y’all had. No one knew how long they were going to detain her over there. We were all hoping [Mulkey] could just rise above it for that moment. Just get her back home. But she didn’t.”

The Washington Post reported Mulkey’s conflicts with star players continued at LSU with soon-to-be WNBA draftee Angel Reese. Reese was benched for four games this season, a suspension Mulkey refused to explain to reporters. The publication reported that Mulkey told a supporter last year that Reese had been left off an awards list because of her GPA, according to email obtained via public records request. In another email, Mulkey complained that Reese was one of several players who “stay on that social media crap.”

The profile detailed issues former Baylor hooper Emily Niemann experienced in the program. Niemann, who spent two years at Baylor from 2003-05, said she was summonned into Mulkey’s office before for being seen on campus with another woman.

Niemann told the publication that Mulkey said: “It’s not a good look.” Niemann later transferred, but wrote in a piece for OutSports that she “did not leave Baylor because Coach Mulkey is homophobic.”

Kelli Griffin, who played for Mulkey from 2007-10, told the publication: “Kim Mulkey is an amazing coach; the reason I went to Baylor is because of her.”

But Griffin added the coach “made my life hell,” by drawing attention to her clothes. The former guard believes she received a suspension due to Mulkey finding out she was gay. The suspension ultimately ended Griffin’s basketball career.

In a letter to the Washington Post, Mulkey’s attorneys denied she treated gay players “more harshly or differently.”

The publication also interviewed Mulkey’s father, Les, and sister, Tammy. The LSU coach hasn’t spoken with her father in 37 years due to him cheating on her mother during the coach’s childhood years. The coach also rejected her dad’s attempts of reconciliation. Mulkey and Tammy also had a falling-out. The sister wouldn’t disclose the reason for the falling-out in the profile.

“I just miss the memories,” Tammy told the Washington Post. “I wish I could have it all back.”


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