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Baylor University president, athletic director respond to Kim Mulkey's departure

Athletic Director Mack Rhoades also said they have launched a national search for the next Lady Bears head coach as Mulkey heads to LSU.

WACO, Texas — Baylor University President Linda Livingstone and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack B. Rhoades released statements Sunday afternoon regarding Lady Bears Head Basketball Coach Kim Mulkey's departure from Waco for Louisiana State University. 

LSU Athletics confirmed Mulkey would lead the basketball program via Twitter shortly before 5 p.m. 

Sources told 6 News the legendary Baylor coach met with her team ahead of the announcement to break the news to them. 

RELATED: Kim Mulkey leaving Lady Bears to accept position as Head Coach at LSU

Here is Rhoades' statement on the shocking departure:

"We are grateful for the more than two decades Kim Mulkey poured into building Baylor women's basketball to one of the nation's premier programs. Coach Mulkey's sustained success is one of the most remarkable runs in college basketball history, and her accomplishments are worthy of the Naismith Hall of Fame induction she'll experience later this year.

As we wish Coach Mulkey the best in a return to her home state, we celebrate her numerous accomplishments. Under Coach Mulkey's leadership, Baylor women's basketball has won every Big 12 Conference regular-season title since 2011 and added 11 Big 12 tournament titles, bringing home 23 Big 12 trophies during her 21-year career. The 2005 NCAA Championship showed the world Baylor could compete at the highest level nationally, and she added two more national championships in 2012 and 2019, placing Baylor alongside UConn, Tennessee and Stanford as the only programs to win three national titles. She did all of this while achieving a 100 percent graduation rate among student-athletes who started and finished their collegiate careers at Baylor."

At the end of his statement, Rhoades also said the department has launched a national search for the Lady Bears' next head coach. He said the department "will not make any comments on prospective candidates" or where they are in the process until they introduce the new coach. 

In a statement issued by President Livingstone, she thanked Mulkey for her dedication to the program for 21 years and wished her the best. 

"On behalf of Baylor University, I want to extend our deepest appreciation to Coach Kim Mulkey for her incredible leadership of our women's basketball program for the past 21 seasons. As a Hall of Fame coach, her teams were a shining light for Baylor and a point of tremendous pride for all of us in the Baylor Family. More importantly, while Coach Mulkey prepared her student-athletes for success on the court, she also ensured they were successful beyond basketball as proud graduates of Baylor. We will always be grateful for Coach Mulkey building Baylor into a nationally elite women's basketball program and for her commitment to excellence. We wish Kim and her family all the best as she returns to her Louisiana roots."

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The Baylor Lady Bears also shared a video on Twitter thanking Mulkey for the time spent building the program over 21 seasons. 

"We are who we are because of you," the tweet read. "Thank you coach."

Watch the short video:

Mulkey will be introduced as head coach of the LSU women's basketball team on Monday, April 26 at 5 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on the university campus, according to a release from the LSU athletic department. She is taking over for Nikki Fargas, who stepped down April 15 after 10 seasons with the Fighting Tigers. 

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