Before Robert Griffin III and Brittney Griner were all-americans, before Art Briles and Scott Drew revived the football and men's hoops teams, before athletes like Quincy Acy, Kendall Wright and Perry Jones roamed Baylor's campus, there was Kim Mulkey.
Baylor has celebrated a banner year in athletics culminating (always wanted to use this word) with the Lady Bears second national title, and a large amount of credit must be given to Mulkey and the women's team for bringing Baylor back from the abyss.
Those of you who have followed my articles/blogs (thanks Chloe my dog) know I have a soft spot for Baylor.
My first "real world job" out of college was at a Waco TV station. My fiancee is from there and when it comes to sports in the area, there's not much going on other than the Bears. Plus I'm not a fan of Texas or A&M, which is probably the real reason I took a liking to BU.
Baylor was a mess during my few years in Waco. The men's basketball team was in shambles after a murder scandal where one player was convicted of killing another player, and the head coach covered it up.
The football team was a Big 12 doormat and attendance dwindled significantly.
Track, baseball and softball remained competitive, but those sports don't pay the bills in college sports.
The one constant was Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears basketball program.
What Mulkey has accomplished at Baylor is pretty amazing. She's now won two national titles in seven years, won seven combined Big 12 tournament and regular season titles and averaged 28 wins a season over a 12-year span.
She turned Baylor into a powerhouse in women's hoops, a sport dominated by Tennessee and UConn for decades. But furthermore, she held down the fort during those dismal years and made Baylor relevant again. Heck, I never thought I would write an article on women's basketball, but here we are.
This year just cemented Kim Mulkey's legacy in Waco. The Lady Bears crushed everyone in their path this season to finish with a historic 40-0 record never seen before in the men's or women's game.
Who knows if BU ever sees a year like this again. Between RG-3's Heisman, the wild Alamo Bowl win, Acy and Griner's highlight reel dunks and the national title, it was an amazing year for Baylor.
But the foundation was laid long ago when Kim Mulkey was hired in 2000 to lead the women's team out of obscurity. Who would have known she would be the driving force behind the entire athletics program revival as well.