A Lynx becomes a Gopher

    Lindsay Whalen hired as head coach of Golden Gophers Women’s Basketball

    More stories from Alivia Kistler


    Photo by SUBMITTED

    Whalen holds the record for most points scored in Minnesota as well as two Olympic medals and a national title.

    On April 13, University of Minnesota’s athletic program announced at a press conference that the Minnesota Lynx point guard, Lindsay Whalen, will be the new head coach for the University of Minnesota’s women’s basketball team.

    Whalen will continue to play professionally while coaching at the collegiate level. According to SBNation, Whalen is no stranger to the Gophers as she played for the team from 2002 to 2004 and managed to take the team to their only Final Four during her final year on the team.

    Whalen was originally drafted by the Connecticut Sun in the first round of the 2004 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) draft. She was traded to her hometown team, the Lynx, in 2010. In 2018, she will take over for Marlene Stollings, who is leaving the University of Minnesota to coach at Texas Tech.

    Whalen will coach the University of Minnesota’s women’s basketball team while continuing her position on the Lynx.

    “It’s gonna be a thrill of my lifetime to be able to do this,” Whalen said during a press conference. ”I always thought that some point in my lifetime this would happen and it’s happening now, so I’m very honored and just excited to take on this opportunity and this challenge.”

    At the press conference, Whalen said she plans to channel the influence of her former coaches into her coaching style and feels prepared because of the high-level coaches she has been trained under for so many years.

    “They’ve taught me so much about what it means to lead and to lead a group of women to championship levels,” Whalen said.

    The new coach said she plans to focus on daily goals for each practice, rather than focusing on the overarching season. She said she also plans to prioritize respect between her players, so that they can all be good teammates who can work hard together and have fun. Her hope is to maintain a professional and positive atmosphere during practices that can transition over to games, she said.

    While answering a question from the press at the press conference, Whalen said she will be reaching out to Don Staley, who is in a similar situation as both a coach and professional athlete. She will be asking the fellow coach for advice on how she has managed her athletic and coaching careers for four years now.

    Whalen will have to balance her professional athletic career with her new coaching career.

    “It’s a tremendously big job, it’s definitely a very big job and there’s so many responsibilities,” Whalen said at the press conference. “But I mean I’m here, we practice a couple miles from here so I’ll be at practice and then I’ll be able to do all the responsibilities I’ll need to do.”

    She has began putting together a staff to help her with coaching when the team is on the road, but at the press conference Whalen said she hopes to be present at the games even when she can’t physically attend.