University of Minnesota hires Lindsay Whalen as head coach
Whalen becomes head coach of her alma mater
Just a few days after the University of Minnesota announced that Marlene Stollings resigned to take the head coaching job at Texas Tech, the Gophers revealed that alumna and WNBA Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen would take over the program.
“People talk about the `it’ factor, and that is always difficult to define, but everyone who has ever spent time around Lindsay Whalen knows she has it,” Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle said about the hire. “She has excelled at everything she has ever done in her life because she’s unflappable, determined and has a legendary work ethic. She’s played for some of the top coaches in the world, she’s competed at the highest levels the sport has to offer, and I know she will be a great head coach for our women’s basketball program.”
Whalen will continue to play for the Lynx this summer.
“I would like to thank coach [Cheryl] Reeve and the Lynx organization for their support during this process. As I started this process with the University of Minnesota, it was important to me that I returned to the Lynx this season. I’m very excited about our upcoming season and I look forward to returning to a renovated Target Center and playing in front of our great fans.”
Whalen announced in February that she was retiring from international competition. She has been a member of USA Basketball since 2002.
“I have so many special memories at the University of Minnesota. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have the opportunity to make more,” said Whalen. “Becoming the head coach here at the U and being a Gopher again is a dream come true. At every level, basketball has given me so much. I’ve learned from so many great players, coaches and mentors, and now I have a chance to share that knowledge and help shape the new generation of Gopher stars. I’m ready to get started.”
From the Minnesota Gophers press release:
Whalen returns to those same Gophers after destroying the program’s record book in the early 2000s, finishing her career as Minnesota’s all-time points leader, along with being second all-time in assists and third all-time in steals. A four-time all-state selection at Hutchinson High School, about an hour west of Minneapolis, Whalen went on to become the catalyst for the most successful seasons in the history of Gopher women’s basketball.
She was the first three-time All-American in program history, a three-time All-Big Ten selection and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. After a Sweet Sixteen appearance her junior season (2002-03), Whalen led the Gophers to their only Final Four in program history in 2004. Her jersey, No. 13, hangs in the rafters of Williams Arena.
Whalen went on to collect numerous honors and championships in the WNBA and with the U.S. National team. After playing five seasons with the Connecticut Sun, Whalen returned to her home state with the Minnesota Lynx and has since won four WNBA championships (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017). Whalen has been named All-WNBA five times and is currently third in WNBA history in assists, to go along with being in the top-20 in career points and steals. Last year, she became the winningest player in WNBA history, having now been a part of more than 300 wins in the league. She also played professionally in Turkey, Russia and the Czech Republic.
In international competition, Whalen was a key piece to dominant performances by Team USA in world championship and Olympic competition. Whalen played for two gold medal teams at the World Championships (2010, 2014) and has also won two Olympic gold medals (2012, 2016).