ATLANTA -- Leading Baylor to a perfect 39-0 record heading into Tuesday's championship game, Baylor’s Kim Mulkey was named the 2012 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced. She edged out St. Bonaventure's Jim Crowley,  2001 winner Notre Dame's Muffett McGraw and last year’s winner, Stanford's Tara VanDerveer, to win her first Naismith Coach of the Year award. The Naismith Award is the most prestigious national award presented annually to the women’s college basketball coach of the year.

Mulkey was selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The academy based its criteria on coaching performances this season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP.  HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States.

“Going undefeated has become a hallmark of great women’s college basketball coaches, and we’re thrilled that Kim has a chance to join that club,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We congratulate Kim on this honor as she is a very deserving recipient of the Naismith Award and wish her the best of luck in [Tuesday's] championship game.”

During her 12th season as Baylor’s head basketball coach, Mulkey guided the team to an undefeated regular-season record (34-0) and a top ranking team the entire season. Baylor captured both the 2012 Big 12 Conference regular season and tournament crowns and Mulkey was selected as the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.

For the first time in program history, Baylor received the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Women’s Championship. It defeated UC Santa Barbara, Florida, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Stanford in the tournament so far and will face Notre Dame on Tuesday for the 2012 title. If Baylor wins, it will become the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games in a single season.

“I am truly humbled to receive this year’s Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award. I would like to thank the Atlanta Tipoff Club and its voting panel for the honor. The organization does an outstanding job of promoting the game of basketball and I appreciate their efforts,” Mulkey said. “This award is a credit to my staff and the great group of young ladies I coach.”