LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey said she underwent a potential life-saving procedure this summer after doctors “accidentally” discovered a blocked artery in her heart.
Mulkey, 61, says the doctors found a coronary artery that had near-complete blockage. She ended up having two stents put into a coronary artery in late June despite previously having no idea that she had any heart issues.
“I never even felt bad,” Mulkey said, via ESPN. “I’m still kind of in shock that we accidentally found this. So my message in sharing this is, if you’re over 50, go get a stress test.
“I’ve had some of my former teammates tell me, ‘We’re going to do it.’ That’s why I share these things. I’m an open book if it’s something that can help people. It’s just a great lesson for all of us who think that it won’t happen to us.”
Mulkey admitted the chain of events began after she asked her doctor to perform a scan on her neck as a follow-up to disc-replacement surgery she had in 2018. Although that test displayed no issues, a radiologist called a few days later to note that plaque existed on her carotid arteries — prompting Mulkey to visit a cardiologist.
“He said, let’s put you on the treadmill and do a stress test,” Mulkey said. “Then he said, ‘I don’t like the way this isn’t pumping faster; it looks like there’s a little blockage going on. We’ve got to do a cath.'”
Mulkey led LSU to a national championship in April.
She then agreed to a 10-year, $32 million contract extension earlier this month, making her the highest-paid women’s college basketball coach in the nation. Per ESPN, UConn coach Geno Auriemma and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley both make $3 million per year.
Mulkey won three national championships during her time as the head coach at Baylor. She took over at LSU for the 2021-22 season, and after the Tigers exited in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, they captured the championship this year.
In two seasons at LSU, Mulkey has a 60-8 record, following her 632-104 mark at Baylor.
Mulkey was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020 — 20 years after she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
–Field Level Media