LSU’s Kim Mulkey ‘ejected’ at Savannah Bananas game after throwing out first pitch

Kim Mulkey

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey is known for her flamboyant outfits, her fiery demeanor and controversial comments. But the coach of the defending national champions also showed a sense of humor during a Savannah Bananas game on Saturday.

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Mulkey was “ejected” for arguing with the home plate umpire -- but unlike her sideline antics during a basketball game, the Tigers’ coach was in on the gag.

Mulkey threw out the first pitch before the Bananas’ game at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Sports Illustrated reported. When the umpire called the pitch a ball, Mulkey came off the mound to argue.

The argument turned into a shouting match, with Mulkey kicking dirt at the umpire and near home plate. She was subsequently tossed from the field by Vincent Chapman, known as the “Dancing Umpire,” according to the magazine.

The crowd booed, but Mulkey and the umpire then raised hands together to reveal the comedy bit, Sports Illustrated reported.

The light moment was in stark contrast to the closing moments of the Southeastern Conference championship game on March 10, when LSU lost 79-72 to top-ranked and unbeaten South Carolina. A shoving match between South Carolina’s Camilla Cardoso and LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson resulted in the ejection of the Gamecocks’ player. Johnson had bumped into South Carolina’s Ashlyn Watkins just before the altercation.

“I’ll tell you this,” Mulkey told reporters, according to The State. “I wish she (Cardoso) would have pushed Angel Reese. Don’t push a kid -- you’re 6-8. Don’t push somebody that little. That was uncalled for, in my opinion. Let those two girls that were jawing, let them go at it.”

Six players were ejected from the game, and Johnson’s brother was arrested for going onto the court and pushing an SEC official, reported.

On March 11, ESPN’s Shannon Sharpe criticized Mulkey’s comments..

“But for you to take that stance, ‘I wish Cardosa would have pushed Angel Reese.’ Really? Is that what you want? You want to see a fight?” Sharpe said. “You want the women’s game to be marred by a fight, really? Come on, Kim Mulkey. You’ve got to be better, and we’ve got to start doing a better job of holding Kim Mulkey accountable and responsible for some of her comments. We let that stuff slide because she’s a national champion. I refused to do that.”

For the upcoming NCAA women’s tournament, South Carolina is the overall No. 1 seed and opens play on Friday against the winner of Wednesday’s game between Sacred Heart and Presbyterian. LSU is ranked third in the opposite bracket and will also play on Friday, meeting No. 14 Rice.