Last year, after LSU won the title over Iowa, I did a lighthearted post on Kim Mulkey’s outfits without realizing the extent to which Mulkey belongs on Garbage Island. Her being terrible doesn’t erase what she’s achieved or anything, but I also used that post to complain that colleges don’t sufficiently value the brilliance of their female coaches and women’s teams… and if I’d known more about the extent of her terribleness, I sure would not have chosen her as my poster child. Gah.

Good news: This year, I can offer an antidote to that well-intentioned mistake. The final game gave us TWO coaches who appear to be great human beings, in Iowa’s Lisa Bluder and South Carolina’s Dawn Staley. The Gamecocks pretty convincingly topped Iowa for an undefeated season and title victory — in front of 18 million viewers — and Staley guided them to her third championship there in seven years (!) with new starters and strong freshman help off the bench. Her teams are 109-3 in the last three seasons. That is… astonishing. She is, by all accounts, a class act in addition to an excellent coach, and deserves all the flowers and crowns. And, for our purposes, she also wears a lot of good jackets that do NOT make her look like endangered birds. Let’s flip through and celebrate her, and with her.

[Photos: John Byrum, M. Anthony Nesmith, Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Lance King, Eakin Howard, Thearon W. Henderson, Ron Jenkins, Kevin C. Cox, Jacob Kupferman, Andy Lyons, Sarah Stier, Ben Solomon, Steph Chambers, Jason Miller, Gregory Shamus/Getty Images, Thien-An Truong/ISI Photos/Getty Images]
Tags: athletes