This might go under the radar as the coolest story of the year and I’m going to shout it from the rooftops so that it gets all of the attention it deserves. 35-year old, Lindsay Whalen, is a 13-year WNBA veteran with 5 All-Star appearances and is a 3-time All WNBA First-Team winner. She’s won 4 titles with the Lynx and she’s 3rd all-time in WNBA history with 2,246 career assists.
Now she is about to become the head coach of her alma mater, Minnesota, while she maintains her WNBA career at the same time. This is incredible.
Here’s what Lindsay Whalen had to say about the opportunity:
“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. 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.”
I can only imagine how this must feel for Whalen who was born and raised in Minnesota and has spent her entire life representing her home state on the basketball court. She was a 3-time All American while playing at the University of Minnesota and she is their all-time points leader.
Whalen is literally the best female basketball player in the history of her home state and she has now been hired to help groom the next generation of Minnesota ballers.
Here is what Whalen said in regards to her plans to continue playing for the Lynx:
“I would like to thank Coach 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.”
As cool as this is, you really have to give credit to both the Lynx organization and the University of Minnesota for allowing Whalen to even attempt this feat. Fortunately, no one decided to rain all over this special parade and we get to see history.
There is a precedent of a player coaching in college while keeping their professional career. In 2000, Dawn Staley was hired by Temple and not only finished her WNBA season but continued to play in the WNBA for SIX more seasons and over the course of that wild ride, Temple made the NCAA Tournament four times. Oh, she also was a WNBA All-Star 6 times while coaching the college squad.
Again, what makes this extra special for Lindsay Whalen is her ties to Minnesota. I’ve never rooted for someone’s success as hard as I am for this woman.
The final game of the 2018 WNBA regular season is August 19th and last season, the Minnesota Gophers held their first practice on October 2nd so yes, it’s going to be a quick and difficult turnaround but it’s certainly doable.
Lindsay Whalen 4 President.
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