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Baylor coach Kim Mulkey on criticism of school's safety: 'Knock them right in the face'

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The women’s basketball coach delivered an assertive defense of her school.

Baylor’s women’s basketball team clinched the Big 12 regular season title on Saturday, and the Bears’ coach, Kim Mulkey, gave a postgame speech on the court in Waco. Mulkey used the occasion to offer a defense of her school, which has spent most of the last year embroiled in a sexual assault scandal that’s still unfolding in court.

“If somebody around you and they ever say, ‘I will never send my daughter to Baylor,’ you knock them right in the face,” Mulkey told fans to applause and cheers. “Because these kids are on this campus. I work here. My daughter went to school here, and it’s the damn best school in America.”

On Monday, Mulkey walked the comments back a bit, saying she didn’t like the fact that the program was being painted with a broad brush and that she spoke with passion in the heat of the moment. She apologized specifically for the word choice used.

"I hate that I used the remark about punching them in the face," Mulkey said. "That was not literal. I was trying to make a point, to be firm in what you are saying back at them. I'm not a violent person. I apologize for the very poor choice of words."

Mulkey’s message was a unique one. She suggested the notion that Baylor is an unsafe place is incorrect, and that the response to it should be hitting someone who feels that way in the face. Initially she defended her remarks in a press conference after Saturday’s game.

“I’m just tired of hearing it,” she said. “I’m tired of people talking on it on a national scale that don’t know what they’re talking about. If they didn’t sit in those meetings and they weren’t a part of the investigation, you’re repeating things that you’ve heard. It’s over. It’s done, and this is a great institution, and I would send my daughter here, and I’d pay for anybody else’s daughter to come here.

“I work here every day. I’m in the know, and I’m tired of hearing it. This is a great institution. The problems we have at Baylor are no different than the problems at any other school in America, period. Move on. Find another story to write.”

The scandal at Baylor has been centered around the school’s football program under its former head coach, Art Briles.