WACO, Texas — If you want to know what Kim Mulkey means to Waco, Baylor, and the game of basketball, you have to speak with the first person from the city to ever wear the green and gold for the former Lady Bears coach.
Calveion "Juicy" Landrum went to La Vega High School where she was a state champ. Mulkey recruited her to Baylor and the rest is history.
The two went on to win the 2019 women's basketball national championship. Landrum still remembers seeing Mulkey in the stands at a Pirates game.
"I looked over and I seen her and it was just a great feeling," she said. "My teammates my coaches, were like 'You know coach is here' and I was just kind of like playing around and I was like 'OK be serious, because coach is in the stands.'”
Landrum was one of two La Vega Pirates to play at Baylor. The other was Erin DeGrate, but she eventually transferred to Baylor from Texas Tech.
"It's a blessing, she gave me an opportunity to play here in my hometown, in front of my family and friends and it was a great blessing for me and a great opportunity.”
Landrum had a hard time believing the rumors that began last week that Mulkey would actually leave Baylor. She said when it became official, she teared up, but said they were happy tears.
"I'm happy," she said the day after the news broke. "She had a great opportunity, and I'm glad she took the opportunity."
The impact of Kim Mulkey has been left on La Vega, where girls basketball coach Marcus Willis, Sr. uses her as an example.
“She's one of the ones as a coach that I look up to, you’re talking about a living legend."
Willis, Sr. said that most of the players he coaches say they want to go to Baylor, even his own daughter who is a freshman in high school. He thinks with the help of Coach Mulkey, the women's game has become more popular and no longer thought of as just a man's game.
"The girl's game is really tremendously showing an improvement," he said. "I believe Coach Mulkey has a lot to do with that. Shows young girls, we have a shot, and we have a shot to do it on our own court and make it out from there.”
Willis, Sr. has known Landrum since she was a kid and said that her understanding of basketball before and after Baylor improved. He said making those relationships with your players is something that he tries to emulate in his own style.
The coach is now in Baton Rouge and will coach the Louisiana State University Tigers for the foreseeable future. While she takes over a program that isn't quite the level that Baylor is, it has to be acknowledged that she made Baylor what it is and could very well get LSU to that same spot.
"Three, four years," Landrum said when asked how long the build will take for Mulkey. "I honestly believe she will bring a national championship to LSU."