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Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey Doesn't Care About Athletes' Sexual Orientation

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The defending national champion talks about what it is to be a champion, and the personal attacks on her star player, Brittney Griner

Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey
Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey
USA TODAY Sports

This weekend, Baylor women's basketball head coach Kim Mulkey and her team will start the defense of their national championship in the NCAA tournament. They're a No. 1 seed with an amazing record of 32-1.

Last summer, I caught up with Mulkey at the ESPYs. When I asked her about having lesbians on her team, she recoiled. I took it at the time as a woman in sports who had been asked the question so many times, she was tired of hearing it. But once a conversation developed, she opened up.

Outsports: Have you ever had a gay player on your team?

Kim Mulkey: Don't ask me that. I don't ask that. I don't think it's anybody's business. Whoever you are. I don't care to know that.

Outsports: So it doesn't matter to you?

Mulkey: No.

Outsports: You're all about winning championships.

Mulkey: All about good kids, all about graduating kids and winning championships.

Outsports: One of the things we've been exploring is what is a champion, that being a champion isn't just winning a title, it's who you are inside an how you treat people. What's your philosophy on that?

Mulkey: I think you have to win as a coach or you get fired. So it is about winning when you become a coach. But it's also about teaching life's lessons. It's being a good example when you stand before a team, to make sure you're prepared, that you're knowledgeable, and that you lead a good example.

Outsports: One of the things I was disappointed about was how fans treated Brittany last season.

Mulkey: I'm always disappointed when fans take it to a personal level. I love fans who are vocal, I love fans that are into their team. I love created fans that do chants and say things that aren't hurtful. When you take it to a personal level, it's not right. Brittney [Griner] has heard more than her fair share of what I would consider personal taunts.

Outsports: I imagine you had to give her a hug a couple times.

Mulkey: Unfortunately, during the game we have to ignore it. But Brittney Griner has had to endure more than any player that I've ever had to coach. And she handles herself about as gracefully as you can.

Baylor tips off against Prairie View A&M this Sunday at 7:40pmET.