Kim Mulkey was named one of four finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award Monday, hours before her No. 3-seeded LSU basketball team was set to tip off against No. 6 Ohio State for a berth in the Sweet 16.
The other finalists are Wes Moore, who has led NC State to its first 30-win season in school history; Dawn Staley, whose South Carolina team is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament; and longtime Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, whose 30-3 Cardinal team is on a quest for back-to-back national championships.
The Tigers have improved from 9-13 last season to 25-5 this year, the single greatest turnaround by a first-year coach in the history of the Southeastern Conference. Mulkey has bought all of the student tickets for LSU students to be able to attend the game for free. LSU faces the Buckeyes at 7 pm Monday in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, and a win would put the Tigers in their first Sweet 16 since 2014.
Mulkey won the Naismith Coach of the Year award once during her 21-year stay at Baylor, in 2011-12.
Fans have a say in the determining the winner of the Coach of the Year award by voting at naismithfanvote.com or on Twitter (@naismithtrophy). Voting begins Tuesday and ends at 5 pm March 29. The fan vote will account for 5% of the total vote.