Lindsay Whalen steps down as Minnesota coach after 5 seasons

M.A. VoepelESPN.com3 Minute Read

Lindsay Whalen has resigned as Minnesota girls’s basketball coach, the varsity introduced Thursday.

Whalen was 71-76 general and 32-58 within the Big Ten in 5 seasons from 2018 to 2023, taking on as coach of this system simply earlier than enjoying her ultimate season with the WNBA’s Lynx in 2018. The Gophers didn’t attain the NCAA event underneath Whalen however made a WNIT look in 2018-19.

Minnesota was 11-19 (4-14 Big Ten) as its season ended Wednesday with a 72-67 loss to Penn State within the Big Ten event first spherical in Minneapolis.

Whalen, 40, had signed a contract extension a 12 months in the past to take her by way of the 2024-25 season. The faculty mentioned she’s going to keep on as a particular assistant to athletic director Mark Coyle although April 12, 2025.

“I wish to thank Mark and the University for giving me the chance to steer this program 5 years in the past,” Whalen mentioned in a press release. “It was an honor of a lifetime. I’m grateful to my assistant coaches and employees and wish to thank them for every little thing they did for our student-athletes over the last 5 years.”

Whalen was scheduled to seem at a information convention with Coyle however was a no-show. Coyle mentioned she was busy assembly together with her employees.

“Together, we simply felt like now’s the precise time for her to step down,” Coyle informed reporters. “She’s nonetheless going to be a part of our program. She is a lot beloved in these hallways and these buildings. Obviously, she’s an icon. She’s on the Mount Rushmore within the state of Minnesota.”

Minnesota coach Lindsay Whalen stepped down at her alma mater after going 71-76 over 5 seasons with out an NCAA event look.Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

Whalen, a local of Hutchinson, Minnesota, was a star guard for the Gophers from 2000 to 2004 and led them to the ladies’s Final Four as a senior. She was the No. 4 decide within the 2004 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun and performed for them six seasons, making two WNBA Finals appearances. Whalen was traded again to her residence state and spent 9 seasons with the Lynx, with whom she gained 4 WNBA titles. She completed her profession averaging 11.5 factors and 4.9 assists per sport.

She had no head-coaching expertise when she took over at her alma mater because the twelfth head coach in program historical past. She changed Marlene Stollings, who made two NCAA event appearances with the Gophers however left to educate at Texas Tech, the place she was fired in 2020 after participant complaints.

Whalen, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame final 12 months, instantly introduced a surge of pleasure and season-ticket holders, however she wasn’t capable of translate that into sufficient success on court docket.

“I do not assume we’re beginning over,” Coyle mentioned. “I feel now we have a extremely nice core group of individuals right here who’ve made progress all through this previous 12 months and it is our job to discover a coach who can proceed to construct upon the success.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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