WNBA Hall of Famer Lindsay Whalen will step down as Minnesota head coach

WASHINGTON, DC - DEC 10: Team head coach
Lindsey Whalen stepped down as Minnesota head coach after almost five seasons. (Photo by Mitchell Leighton/Getty Images)

The greatest player in the history of the Minnesota program steps down as the head coach of the women’s basketball team.

Golden Gophers head coach Lindsey Whalen is retiring immediately, the program announced on Thursday. She will remain in Minnesota as Special Assistant to Athletic Director Mark Coyle until April 2025.

Whalen, a four-time WNBA champion and Naismith Hall of Famer who played for Minnesota from 2000 to 2004, returned to the Gophers as head coach before her playing career ended, splitting duties between coaching and playing during her final season with the team. Minnesota lynx in 2018.

Whalen compiled a 71–76 record with a 32–58 mark in Big Ten play during her five seasons with Minnesota. Her first season was her best, finishing sixth in the conference, but her teams never made it to the NCAA Tournament.

Minnesota finished this season 11-19, second to last in the Big Ten.

From Minnesota:

“I want to thank Mark and the university for giving me the opportunity to lead this program five years ago,” Whalen said. “It was the honor of a lifetime. I am grateful to my assistant coaches and staff and want to thank them for all they have done for our student athletes over the past five years. We did everything right and left a lot of memories. but now is the perfect time for me to step aside and be a proud graduate again. I look forward to supporting and cheering for the next head coach.”

Even if her job as a coach hasn’t paid off as much as she’d hoped, Whalen remains one of the WNBA’s top players and a player the program can point to for recruits. The Hutchinson, Minnesota native won four championships with the Minnesota Lynx and ended his career as the league’s all-time top player (but has since been surpassed by Sue Bird).

Whalen is still the WNBA’s all-time playoff assists leader with five All-Star Team selections, three All-WNBA First Team selections, and a spot on the league’s 25th anniversary team.


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