Anticipated Profile of LSU's Star Coach Triggers Reaction

Washington Post piece on Kim Mulkey is unflattering but lacking in bombshells, other journalists say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2024 12:20 PM CDT
Profile Details the Many Grudges of Kim Mulkey
LSU head coach Kim Mulkey motions to players Saturday in a game against UCLA.   (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

The Washington Post published its highly anticipated—especially by its subject—profile of basketball coach Kim Mulkey on Saturday, and many competing sports journalists found the piece not worth the two-year wait. Much of the hype was driven by the Louisiana State University women's coach, who had threatened, criticized, and warned the Post before it ran what she called a "hit piece." Although readers might find much to not admire about how Mulkey has pulled 723 victories from her players, the article by Kent Babb appeared to lack bombshell revelations. There is plenty to make Mulkey and readers squirm, including details of her estrangement from her family, a long feud with star Brittney Griner, and disputed views of the coach's reaction to players' sexuality.

Mulkey hasn't spoken to her father for 37 years, the Post reports, and she has her reasons. But Les Mulkey still sometimes slips into the crowd at games to watch her coach. The feud between Mulkey and Griner is more than a decade old and was not eased by Griner's detainment in a Russian prison; the star has accused Mulkey of urging gay players to keep their sexuality out of public view. The coach does not easily let go of grievances, Babb writes. There were responses to the Post profile, and there was reaction to the reaction. The Athletic pointed out that when it conducted an anonymous survey of college players a year ago, asking them to name the coach they'd most like to play for, Mulkey came in second.

CNN says the piece "paints a picture of a coach whose brash manner and tendency to hold a grudge make her one of the most polarizing figures in college basketball history, and of a life devoted to the pursuit of basketball excellence that has left in its wake a series of fractured relationships." In a Los Angeles Times column, Ben Bolch seized on the critical narrative to cast the Saturday game between hometown UCLA and Louisiana State as a battle between good and evil. USA Today's Nancy Armour ripped the column as misogynistic, Mulkey criticized it, and the Times later removed some wording, per ESPN. LSU won the game, and Mulkey said afterward the profile hubbub hadn't been a distraction. (More NCAA women's basketball stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.