WACO, Texas - Baylor women's basketball coach Kim Mulkey has made a tearful apology for her recent remarks about the school's sexual assault scandal.
In defending the school against critics last weekend, Mulkey said Baylor fans should "knock them right in the face" and said it's time to "move on" from the scandal. After those comments caused a storm of controversy, the two-time national championship coach said Thursday she was sorry for the choice of words.
"I guess you'd say it got the best of me because I really do love this place,” she said.
Mulkey has been in the hot seat ever since she took the mic on the basketball court last Saturday following her career win over Texas Tech University. It was during the spirited interaction with fans that she suddenly began to defend the university, alluding to the sex assault scandal. She then doubled down on her comments in a news conference that followed.
“I'm tired of hearing about it,” she said on Saturday. “I'm tired of people talking about it on a national scale that don't know what they're talking about.”
Mulkey was referring to the nationwide scrutiny that has plagued the Waco school. The Texas Rangers are investigating the allegations that link dozens of football players to more than 50 acts of rape over a four-year period. The scandal cost head football coach Art Briles and several others their jobs.
“It's over. It's done, and this is a great institution. I'd pay for my daughter to go here, and I'd pay for anyone else's daughter to come here. I work here every day. I'm in the know, and I'm tired of hearing it,” she said. “The problems we have at Baylor are not different than any other school in America — period. Move on. Find another story to write.”
The remarks outraged survivors of sexual assault and Texans who have been critical of the board of regents’ handling of the situation.
"The timing wasn't good. Poor analogy, maybe,” she said on Thursday. “But those of you who know me know I'm an emotional person. I coach with emotion."
And it was that ‘emotional moment’ that got her into trouble. And for that, Mulkey says she is sorry.
“You know, awful things happened here, guys. We failed victims here. But I'm encouraged every day because I see what has taken place to fix it. And I just think we’ve responded the way that we can: aggressively, financially. We've admitted our mistakes,” she said. “My heart goes out to victims. How could it not? I'm a woman. I have a daughter. I'm responsible for how many of them in that locker room. In fact, I'm angry that we failed these women. But I'm also encouraged because I see that we're trying to do better."
Mulkey also said her heart goes out to assault victims and said the school failed them.
Baylor is facing several federal lawsuits from women who say the school mishandled or ignored sexual and physical assault claims for years.