Kim Mulkey

Freshman center Imani McGee-Stafford scored 13 points and 18 rebounds against Baylor and recently received the Big 12 Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Four games ago fans saw a struggling Longhorn team finally end its 2013 drought with a victory over Kansas State. Just over two weeks later not much has changed as that same team is trying to repeat an identical task.

Texas (9-13, 2-9 in Big 12) matches up against the Wildcats (12-11, 3-8 in Big 12) tonight in another conference showdown. The last time the two teams met, the Longhorns broke their nine-game losing streak in a 59-40 win against the Manhattan team.

The Longhorns are visiting the Wildcats after losing their last two games to ranked opponents Iowa State and Baylor. Freshman Imani McGee-Stafford, who was recently named Phillips 66 Big 12 Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season, led her team with 13 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in the loss to the defending national champions Baylor.

“She was outstanding,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said of the 6-foot-7 center. “She’s a big body in there. She’s not afraid of physical play. I think she’s a very good rebounder.”

While Texas looks to add only its third Big 12 win tonight, Kansas State isn’t in much of a different place. The Wildcats’ loss to the Longhorns started a four-game skid that they have yet to break, despite the efforts of senior Brittany Chambers, who averaged 20.7 points and 11.3 rebounds in the last three games.

This is the 25th meeting between the two conference foes, with Texas leading the series 13-11. The Wildcats are 5-5 when the game is played at Bramlage Coliseum, nicknamed the “Octagon of Doom.”

Head coach Karen Aston expects her team to carry the same energy into this game as it did against Baylor. She felt her team prepared for the game against the top-ranked team in the way it should have if it wanted to win in such a competitive conference.

“More than anything, and what I told them in the locker room is, I would love to see our team prepare and compete on a daily basis the way that we did for this game,” Aston said. “I think if we would begin to understand that’s the preparation it takes every single day in the Big 12, then we will begin to get somewhere.”

Published on February 13, 2013 as "Horns hungry for victory against KSU".

North Texas coach could take over women's basketball program

Texas may have found its successor.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey confirmed with the Austin America-Statesman that North Texas head coach Karen Aston will take over the Texas program from Gail Goestenkors who resigned after Texas’ first round bow out of the NCAA tournament.

Aston served as an assistant coach under Mulkey and is said to have texted her the news.

“This has to be her dream job,” Mulkey told the paper.

Aston is considered an extremely able recruiter, and proved herself as one while working under Jody Conradt fom 1998-2006. She went 15-16 (7-9 Sun Belt) with the North Texas Mean Green this past season.

A Daily Texan source from within the UT athletic department said there has yet to be a decision made. The UT Board of Regents will meet Monday to officially discuss the future of the position. 

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, as well as men’s coach Scott Drew were reprimanded by the NCAA for a number of phone calls and text messages that were deemed violations. The NCAA has put the Bears on three years probation and will limit scholarships in coming years as well as recruiting visits.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

WACO, Texas— The NCAA put Baylor on three years of probation Wednesday after an investigation turned up hundreds of impermissible telephone calls and text messages sent to prep recruits by coaches and assistants on the basketball teams.

The violations were considered to be major infractions, and they were announced less than a week after the Lady Bears won the national championship with the first 40-0 season in NCAA history.

Still, it could have been much worse for Baylor. All of the penalties were proposed by the school and accepted by the NCAA after a review of nearly 900,000 phone and text message records found that 738 texts and 528 calls were against the rules.

The NCAA said men’s coach Scott Drew failed to monitor his program and will be suspended for two Big 12 games next season, in addition to recruiting restrictions. Women’s coach Kim Mulkey also received recruiting restrictions.

“I believe strongly in following NCAA rules and will always try to do so in the future,” Mulkey said in a statement released by the school. “I do nothing without permission from our compliance office and will continue to ask questions to assure that things are done right. Any compliance-related mistakes, even those that are secondary, are disappointing. The majority of mistakes in this matter were errors in sending text messages and failure to accurately document our phone calls.”

The report put a bit of a damper on what has been an extraordinary run of success for Baylor athletics.

Besides Baylor’s win over Notre Dame for the women’s title, Drew’s team won a school-record 30 games and reached the NCAA regional finals, where the Bears lost to eventual national champion Kentucky. And all that came after star quarterback Robert Griffin III became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner following a football season that included 10 wins for the first time since 1980.

Mulkey was named the AP’s national coach of the year and junior Brittney Griner was its player of the year. How Baylor recruited Griner, one of the most dominant women’s players in college basketball history, was reportedly part of the NCAA probe.

A school report obtained by said Mulkey and her staff committed minor NCAA violations for having impermissible contact with Griner and her family. During a 2007 camp, coaches spoke with the Griners about the basketball program, academic requirements and the school in general both before and after the camp.

Mulkey also reportedly broke NCA rules when she sat next to Griner’s father and discussed what the Baylor experience would be like. Brittney Griner, who is from the Houston area, played on the same AAU team as Mulkey’s daughter, Makenzie Robertson.

The NCAA report did not mention Griner or her family by name, though Mulkey addressed it in her statement.

“The other matters were related to my daughter’s participation in summer basketball,” she said. “While I am and will always be a mother first, I do recognize that there has to be a balance between my role as a mother of a prospect and my role as a head coach. I have always tried to strike that balance and appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate to the NCAA staff such balancing efforts dating back to when Makenzie was in the seventh grade. I am pleased that my efforts to find the appropriate balance between a mother and a coach were recognized.”

Griner said she had “made it clear to the NCAA staff and everyone else” that she had chosen Baylor early in the recruiting process.

Besides keeping Mulkey off the recruiting trail in July, Baylor said one of her assistants has been barred from making recruiting calls from January through April. The school also reduced its women’s basketball scholarships from 15 to 13 in 2011-12.

On the men’s side, Drew will miss the first two Big 12 games of the season, recruiting visits were trimmed and he lost a scholarship this past season and in 2012-13. In addition, a former coach faces a one-year “show cause” order that effectively prevents him from coaching at an NCAA school.

The assistant wasn’t identified, but reported in October 2010 that the NCAA was investigating the recruitment of Hanner Perea. The report said assistant Mark Morefield sent dozens of texts to Perea’s AAU and high school coaches and urged two of them to provide false and misleading information to the NCAA about a series of text messages. Morefield resigned in July 2011.

“I sincerely apologize to Baylor University and Baylor Nation,” Morefield said in statement released by his lawyer. “I learned a very valuable lesson in this case. In my 13 years of coaching at NCAA institutions, I have not intentionally violated NCAA rules. I will grow from this experience with a better understanding of NCAA rules.”

The NCAA violations come nine years after Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was found shot to death after he had been missing for six weeks. Teammate Carlton Dotson pleaded guilty to murder. The ensuing investigation uncovered NCAA violations, illegal tuition payments and unreported failed drug tests that led to the resignation of coach Dave Bliss, who was secretly recorded by an assistant coach of trying to persuade others to cover up misdeeds by portraying Dennehy as a drug dealer.

Athletic director Ian McCaw said the school has made “significant investments in compliance staffing and infrastructure” since the investigation began.

Drew said he took full responsibility for the violations, saying many were simply the result of improperly logging or failing to log calls to recruits. He noted that the school has a new software tracking system to assist coaches with the logistics.

“I came to Baylor in 2003 to do a job: rebuild a program decimated by very serious NCAA rules violations and tragedy,” he said. “I promised to rebuild the program in a way Baylor could be proud-morally, academically and, finally, athletically, and we continue on that journey today.”

Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs experienced plenty of success on the court in 2012, including the Lady Bear’s perfect 40-0 season, however, both programs are now marred in a recruiting scandal.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs are currently under investigation regarding a series of more than 1,200 impermissible texts and calls to potential recruits.

According to reports obtained by ESPN, men’s coach Scott Drew and women’s coach Kim Mulkey were among a number of alleged offenders extending into many of the school’s sports programs. The activity occurred over a 29 month span. The NCAA produced a 66 page document highlighting what it called “major violations,” because of the frequency with which these impermissible texts and calls occurred. There are a number of secondary violations, but the texts and calls are the focus of the investigation. Baylor has already placed self-imposed violations and it will wait until the NCAA comes to a decision regarding possible sanctions before releasing more information. The school released a statement saying it “remains committed to protecting the integrity of the totality of the case in accordance with its obligations under NCAA legislation, and therefore the University, and its officials, will make no comment.”

The report focuses on Drew’s and Mulkey’s staffs. It stated that assistant coaches in both programs played a part in the 738 impermissible text messages and 528 impermissible calls made over a span of nearly two-and-a-half years.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said the NCAA can’t comment on the details of the matter since the investigation is under review.

Junior forward Brittney Griner and the Baylor Bears made history Tuesday evening, becoming the 10th team in NCAA women’s history to finish with a perfect record.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Forty up, 40 down. No team could touch the Bears this year.

Baylor earned its second women’s basketball title with a decisive win over an overmatched Notre Dame team that fell just short of the title for the second year in a row.

The Bears became the first team to reach 40 wins in a season, and their undefeated record of 40-0 gives them the 10th undefeated season in women’s history. This team hasn’t quite reached the amazing level of Connecticut from 2009-2010 when it won 90 straight games, including two national championships, but they’re not done yet either.

Post Brittney Griner was her usual self, recording 26 points and 13 rebounds as well as five blocks.

Notre Dame’s semi-famous point guard Skylar Diggins dropped 20 points but didn’t shoot all that well. The rest of her team didn’t either, going just 36 percent from the field. It was clear that Griner and the Bears were on a mission and that they would not be denied a perfect season.

Baylor held a 21 rebound advantage over the Irish in the end, and shot 50 percent on the night. The dominant performance was a fitting end to a season where the Bears were rarely challenged.

Head coach Kim Mulkey knew what she was doing when she recruited Griner to play at Baylor, but even Mulkey has to be surprised at just how well Griner has played thus far in college. Mulkey has laid a solid foundation in Waco, and her coaching tree just supplied Texas with its new coach, Karen Aston.

With Griner set to enter her senior year, and key players like Odyssey Sims and Destiny Williams coming back as well, the Bears are looking to be in contention for another run at a perfect season. The Bears will be an experienced bunch and will have plenty of tournament time under their belts. This is Mulkey’s second title at Baylor, and there’s no sign of her stopping any time soon.

Sure the Bears are enjoying having Griner on the team now, but her presence will also be felt long after she leaves Waco. Players like Griner come along once in a lifetime, and high school girls who are really good at basketball are going to want to identify with her for a long time.

Griner, Robert Griffin III and a resurgent men’s basketball program have helped to put Baylor on the map in the sports world. It has yet to be seen what will come of the football program with RG3 leaving for the NFL, but it seems as if the basketball programs are going to be sticking around for awhile.

Printed on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 as: Griner, company finish perfect 40-0

Former Texas assistant Karen Aston, the head coach at North Texas last year, is set to be introduced as the Longhorns’ head women’s basketball coach after the UT System Board of Regents authorized Texas women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky and school president Bill Powers to make a hire.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The Longhorns got one step closer to signing their next head coach on Monday.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents authorized the hiring of a new women’s basketball coach in a special meeting Monday morning. The regents granted both President Bill Powers and women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky the authority to execute a contract.

School officials have scheduled a Tuesday morning press conference to introduce the new head coach. Although a replacement has yet to be officially named, it appears as if North Texas’ Karen Aston will be next to lead the Longhorns.

Aston, 47, visited the 40 Acres last week to interview with Powers and school officials, and Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey told the Austin-American Statesman this weekend that Aston had text messaged her saying that she would be taking the job at Texas.

Aston spent eight years with the Longhorns as an assistant under Hall of Fame head coach Jody Conradt. Aston was the recruiting coordinator for much of her first stint at Texas, a tenure that included seven trips to the NCAA tournament and a Final Four appearance in 2003.

After leaving Texas, Aston spent a year as Mulkey’s associate head coach at Baylor before starting her head-coaching career at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She spent four years with the 49ers before resigning and eventually taking the job at North Texas to be closer to her family in Arkansas. In her only year with the Mean Green, Aston was 15-16. Although her team failed to reach the .500 mark, they were a much-improved squad compared to the previous season when they won only five games.

Aston will be replacing Gail Goestenkors, who resigned on March 20 after five seasons with the Longhorns. After failing to advance past the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the last four years, Goestenkors said she was “tired” and needed a break from the game of basketball.

Printed on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 as: Aston likely to be named coach today as regents authorize hire