“Queen Mulkey: Iconic Leader of the Lady Tigers”
Published on April 21, 2023, at 9:51 p.m.
by Helen Carson.
A polka-dotted pantsuit and a NCAA women’s basketball championship title. A woman who can do it all.
Meet Kim Mulkey, the head coach of Louisiana State University’s women’s basketball team and recent internet sensation and fashion icon.
Initially head of the Baylor University women’s basketball program, Mulkey won titles in 2005, 2012 and 2019 for Baylor’s Lady Bears. She headed back to LSU in 2021 and most recently won the 2023 national title with the Lady Tigers.
While her impressive and expressive coaching receives its own attention, Mulkey is known for her glamorous courtside looks as well. “Look we’re from Louisiana. We like sparkles, we like diamonds, we like Mardi Gras, we like to eat, and we like to party,” Mulkey explained when asked about her personal style — talk about creating a unique personal brand.
Mulkey’s sense of style reflects her love of the brand Queen of Sparkles. Often wearing its dresses, tops or pantsuits, Mulkey has a recognizable connection with this brand and has almost centered her image around its eccentric style. Even better, the Queen of Sparkles’ founder, Jamie Glas, is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
A prime example of not judging a book by the cover, Mulkey’s sassy edge in fashion only contributes to her powerful flamboyance on and off the basketball court. Her ability to break basketball stereotypes is introducing a new audience to the court, myself included.
But there is much more to Mulkey than her lavish outfits. She has reached professional heights in her career, such as being an Olympic gold medalist in 1984 and the first woman in NCAA women’s history to win a national championship as a head coach, assistant coach and player. On top all of this, Mulkey has shown that you can be both sporty and feminine.
Embellished blazers and platform high heels aren’t for everybody, but Mulkey has used her style to benefit a greater good. She’s bringing in more viewers to women’s basketball, whether they want to watch the game or see her tiger-striped sequin pantsuit.
Mulkey put the situation plainly in an interview with USA Today: “Those that come because of basketball, forget what I wear on the sideline, look at the product on the floor. Don’t make what I wear bigger than what’s on that floor and what I have done X’s and O’s-wise as a coach. … But if me wearing their jackets and things like that helps them but it also sells one more ticket or puts one more set of eyeballs on our game, so be it.”
The 2023 Women’s March Madness final reached 9.9 million viewers this year, setting a record for a NCAA women’s basketball game.
A Hall of Famer with an impressive winning streak who does it all in high heels, that’s Kim Mulkey.