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Bob Starkey's long journey makes return trip to LSU basketball
BATON ROUGE - Bob Starkey is an LSU basketball lifer. He started on Dale Brown's men's team as an assistant and then transitioned over to Sue Gunter's staff with the women's program.
Starkey even coached the Lady Tigers in a Final Four game in 2007 when he was promoted to interim head coach. But Tiger basketball fell apart after that, and Starkey started his journey around the rest of the SEC with stops at Texas A&M and Auburn.
"Kim did not know this, but when they did her introductory press conference in the PMAC, I was in my office at Auburn, Alabama, watching on live stream, and she pointed to the banners, and she talked about how amazing that run was," Starkey said.
"And she said, 'But you know, there's one banner that's just not up there, and that's why I came here.' I got goosebumps hearing her say it, and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that was a draw for me to come back. I think there's some unfinished business here, and I think we have a head coach that obviously knows how to do that, and hopefully I can help her," he said.
Starkey is a fixture at LSU. Even when he was away, he'd be back in town with his wife Sherrie checking in with old friends and keeping an eye on the Tigers.
So when a position opened up on Kim Mulkey's staff, Starkey was hopeful that his journey would lead him back to Baton Rouge for one final run.
"She'd been so successful, so I'm coming in, and I'm excited to see how they do things here. I tell everybody my first three or four months my two words were listen and learn," Starkey said of his initial thoughts on joining Mulkey's staff.
Mulkey, as she tends to do, was much more enthusiastic about Starkey joining LSU once again.
"Wow. Wow. Did I get a big time guy! I can walk away from that court and feel like in good hands," Mulkey said of her new assistant. "Here's an interim guy that took them to a Final Four here, here's a guy that knows more about LSU than I know. I know the state and I know a lot of things he doesn't know, but I don't know LSU like Bob does."
Starkey said the fact that a proven winner and National Championship coach like Mulkey would consider bringing him on her staff was a huge compliment to the work he does.
"There's a reason for everything she does so that you know that it kind of makes me proud that she wanted me to be a part of this," he said.
For Starkey, it's a chance to finish some business that he started with the LSU women's program nearly thirty years ago.
"I mean, to make your sport relevant in your community, in your state. That to me that's important. That's something that's lasting," Starkey said.
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