Minnesota’s Whalen resigns after 3rd straight losing season
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Lindsay Whalen, considered the greatest player in Minnesota women’s basketball history, resigned as coach on Thursday after a third straight losing season.
The Gophers’ 11-19 season ended with a first-round loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday. They tied for 12th in the Big Ten with a 4-12 record, their fewest wins in 12 years.
Whalen was hired five years ago with no previous coaching experience Athletic director Mark Coyle said Whalen will stay on as a special assistant to the athletics director through April 12, 2025.
Whalen, in a statement, thanked Coyle for the opportunity she called “an honor of a lifetime.”
“We did things the right way and created a lot of memories,” she said, “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.”
Whalen grew up an hour west of Minneapolis, in Hutchinson, and played for the Gophers from 2000-04. She left as the program’s all-time points leader, second in assists and thirds in steals. Her No. 13 jersey was retired.
She won Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016 and played for the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA.
Whalen returned to the university in 2018 after coach Marlene Stollings left for Texas Tech, and Whalen’s first team went 21-11 and 9-9 in the Big Ten.
The following four seasons did not come close to matching the first. The Gophers never played in an NCAA Tournament or finished higher than sixth in the Big Ten.
She was 71-76 overall and 32-58 in conference games.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lindsay,” Coyle said. “I want to thank Lindsay for her hard work and dedication as a player and as the head coach of our women’s basketball program. She is one of the greatest alums and ambassadors this university has ever produced and her legacy of being a Minnesota icon is etched in stone.”
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