WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey made a tearful apology for her recent controversial remarks about the school’s sexual assault scandal.
The two-time national championship coach said Thursday at a news conference that she’s “sorry for the choice of words.”
In defending the school against critics after her 500th career win on Saturday night, Mulkey told Baylor fans to “knock them right in the face” if people say they don’t want to send their daughter to the school.
“The timing wasn’t good. Poor analogy maybe, as well,” Mulkey said Thursday. “For those of you who know me, I’m an emotional person. I coach with emotion. I played with emotion, and it was an emotional moment. I guess you’d say it got the best of me because I really do love this place.”
Baylor officials have acknowledged at least 17 women reported being raped by 19 football players since 2011. Lawsuits against the school put the number of alleged sexual assaults at more than 50 over a four-year period.
“Awful things happened here, guys,” Mulkey said. “We failed victims here, but I’m encouraged every day because I see what’s taken place to fix it. And, I just think we’ve responded the way that we can aggressively, financially. We’ve admitted our mistakes.”
Baylor officials have emphasized changes they’re making to improve response to sexual violence, spending more than $4 million in recent years on federal Title IX response services.
The school also says it adopted most of the recommendations presented by a law firm that investigated the school. It found years of mishandled cases and stated the football program operated “above the rules,” as some coaches and staff failed to report allegations and interfered with some witnesses and investigations.
Mulkey, hired at Baylor in 2000, has guided her teams to the 2005 and 2012 NCAA titles.
“My heart goes out to victims. How could it not?” Mulkey said. “I’m a woman. I have a daughter. I’m responsible for how many in that locker room. In fact, I’m angry that we’ve failed those women. But I’m also encouraged because I see that we’re trying to do better.”
The school also faces a federal civil rights investigation.