Lindsay Whalen stepped down as Minnesota’s head coach after five seasons leading her alma mater.
Whalen, the former WNBA star who was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, is staying on as a special assistant to athletic director Mark Coyle in a deal that runs through April 2025, the university announced.
“I want to thank Mark and the university for giving me the opportunity to lead this program five years ago,” Whalen said in a news release. “It was an honor of a lifetime. I am grateful to my assistant coaches and staff and want to thank them for everything they did for our student-athletes during the last five years. We did things the right way and created a lot of memories, but now is the right time for me to step aside and return to being a proud alum. I look forward to supporting and cheering on the next head coach.”
Last year Whalen, a Minnesota native, signed a contract extension that would have kept her in the head-coaching role through the 2024-25 season.
Minnesota’s season ended Wednesday when it lost to Penn State 72-67 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Golden Gophers finished 11-19 (4-14 Big Ten). In five years Whalen coached the team to a 71-76 record overall and a 32-58 mark in the league.
“Together, we just felt like now is the right time for her to step down,” Coyle told reporters. “She’s still going to be part of our program. She is so much loved in these hallways and these buildings. Obviously, she’s an icon. She’s on the Mount Rushmore in the state of Minnesota.”
Whalen was hired as the coach of her alma mater in April 2018 — while still an active player in the WNBA. That summer was the final season of her playing career, spent with the Connecticut Sun (2004-09) and Minnesota Lynx (2010-18).
Whalen had career averages of 11.5 points and 4.9 assists per game in 480 career games (476 starts) in the WNBA. She was part of four WNBA title teams with the Lynx, a five-time All-Star and a three-time All-WNBA first-team selection.
–Field Level Media
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