LSU’s Kim Mulkey selected as Louisiana’s Top Collegiate Coach

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Kim Mulkey
(Photo: Stephen Lew)

NEW ORLEANS – Kim Mulkey, the head coach of the national champion LSU women’s basketball team, has been selected as the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Outstanding Collegiate Coach for Louisiana for 2022-23.

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 24 individuals and three teams will be honored for their 2022-23 achievements at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on August 5. Honorees are currently being announced over a two-week period, wrapping up with the Corbett Awards for the top male and female amateur athletes in the state on Friday, July 28.

Mulkey, who assembled nine transfers and freshmen in her second season in Baton Rouge – brought the program its first Final Four victory in six attempts and then two days later, she led the flagship institution of her home state to its first NCAA Basketball Championship and the 50th team national title in LSU Athletics’ 130-year history.

“About a minute 30 to go, I couldn’t hold it,” Mulkey said of her late game tears. “I got emotional. That’s not very like me until that final buzzer goes off. I don’t know what it was, but I lost it. So that should tell you what I think about it. Very, very emotional and tears of joy.”

It was the fourth championship in as many title game appearances in Mulkey’s coaching career (previous wins at Baylor in 2005, 2012 and 2019), as she became the first women’s basketball coach to win NCAA championships at multiple schools. LSU (34-2) scored the most points in a Women’s Final Four game, as the Tigers shot 54.3 percent (38 of 70) from the field including 11-of-17 from three-point range. The 187 combined points was also the most in a Final Four game.

In addition to the committee-selected award-winners, a fan vote was conducted for the first time. The fans’ choice for Louisiana’s Outstanding Collegiate Coach honor was Willie Fritz, the head coach of the Tulane football team. Fritz had a truly historic and magical 2022 season. The program defeated then No. 22 CFP ranked UCF on Dec. 3 by a 45-28 score to capture the school’s first-ever American Athletic Conference (AAC) title and earn Tulane its first appearance in a major bowl game since the Sugar Bowl in 1940 with the trip to Arlington, Texas to play in the 87th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against USC on Jan. 2. In that game, Tulane scored 15 points in the last four and half minutes of game time to shock USC for its first win in a major bowl since a 1935 victory over Temple in the Sugar Bowl.

Joining Mulkey and Fritz as finalists in the highly-competitive Coach of the Year field were Jay Johnson (LSU Baseball) and Joe Scheuermann (Delgado Baseball).

Johnson, in his second year at the helm of the LSU baseball program, led the Tigers to their seventh College World Series Championship. LSU was ranked among the best teams in the country throughout the season and then it rose to the top, posting an 11-2 record in NCAA Tournament games. The Tigers won the Baton Rouge Regional, then swept Kentucky in a Super Regional. After slipping into the losers’ bracket at the College World Series, LSU rallied and eliminated overall No. 1 seed Wake Forest to reach the championship series against SEC-rival Florida. After splitting the first two games, including a thrilling 4-3 win in 11 innings, LSU erupted for 18 runs in the championship game to wrap up the title.

Scheuermann directed the Dolphins to the 2023 South Central District Championship and a berth in the NJCAA World Series while matching the school-record for wins. It was Delgado’s sixth overall World Series appearance and its fifth under Scheuermann’s guidance (first since 2016).

The Sugar Bowl has recognized an Outstanding Louisiana College Coach since 1961 and Mulkey is the fifth women’s basketball coach to be honored. It is not her first Sugar Bowl honor, however – in 1984, she earned the Bowl’s James J. Corbett Award as the top amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana for her playing accomplishments at Louisiana Tech. That was in the days when the honor only went to one athlete, male or female. She topped male stars including Louisiana Tech’s Karl Malone, LSU’s Dalton Hilliard, and Tulane’s John “Hot Rod” Williams to become the second woman to earn the honor.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl will continue announcing its honors on Monday with the release of its first member of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Cullen Doody, Jesuit Cross Country
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Chris Prator, St. Scholastica Swimming
Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Alia Armstrong, LSU Track & Field
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Tyjae Spears, Tulane Football
Jimmy Collins Special AwardsTulane Football & Lisa Stockton (Tulane Women’s Basketball Coach)
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: Carver Basketball
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: McGehee Track & Field
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: Kim Mulkey, LSU Women’s Basketball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 24 (Monday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 25 (Tuesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 26 (Wednesday)
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Inductee: July 27 (Thursday)
Corbett Award – Female: July 28 (Friday)
Corbett Award – Male: July 28 (Friday)

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee came together when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month and a variety of annual award winners. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month as well as a range of annual awards – the honors enter their 67th year in 2023.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 102 Hall of Fame players, 52 Hall of Fame coaches and 21 Heisman Trophy winners in its 89-year history. The 90th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2024. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting nearly $2.4 billion into the local economy in the last decade.

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