Lindsay Whalen named head coach of Minnesota women’s basketball, while still playing in WNBA

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Lindsay Whalen

This week’s most intriguing basketball news, despite the NBA Playoffs gearing up and the WNBA Draft on Thursday night, was Lindsay Whalen being named the head coach of the women’s basketball team at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

Whalen is a five-time All-WNBA guard and is currently still a member of the Minnesota Lynx. The 14-year veteran reportedly has an agreement to continue playing for the Lynx as she accepts the head coaching position at Minnesota.

If Whalen was retired, this move wouldn’t have as much shock value. Whalen’s no. 13 jersey is up in the rafters in Williams Arena. She led the Gophers to the Final Four in 2004 and was the program’s first three-time All-American in history. Whalen is a Minnesota sports legend.

But this is uncharted territory in the NCAA, the WNBA, and in sports. A professional athlete is being given the reigns of a Big Ten basketball program. Whalen won’t be playing in the WNBA much longer and has clearly been given an early opportunity to segue into the next phase of her basketball life.

The Lynx start training camp in two weeks and their season opener is on May 20. The last potential date for the WNBA Finals is September 16, which is a couple of weeks before practice begins for the Gophers.

From athletic director Mark Coyle via the team’s press release:

“People talk about the `it’ factor, and that is always difficult to define, but everyone who has ever spent time around Lindsay Whalen knows she has it. She has excelled at everything she has ever done in her life because she’s unflappable, determined and has a legendary work ethic. She’s played for some of the top coaches in the world, she’s competed at the highest levels the sport has to offer, and I know she will be a great head coach for our women’s basketball program.”

Minnesota went 24-9 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.

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Martin is the Founder, Chief Editor, and Head Skills Development Trainer for Basketball Society. Martin has work experience in digital media, radio, and journalism. He started a basketball blog and internet radio show in 2013 on Blog Talk Radio. Martin previously hosted the Knightcap show for WCTC 1450 AM covering the Rutgers Men's Basketball team. He has been featured as a writer on sites such as Def Pen, TV Film News, and All Hip-Hop. Martin played high school basketball at South Brunswick High School (NJ) where he graduated in 2007. He is a 1,000-point scorer at SBHS and an All-Middlesex County performer as a 3-year varsity starter. He helped lead SBHS to their first ever Central Jersey Group 4 sectional state championship in 2007. Martin played college basketball at Eastern University, where he graduated (BA) in 2012. Martin was a four-year starter and a 1,000-point scorer at EU and a 1st-Team All-MAC Conference performer. Follow Mart on Twitter @Marsoaries and on Instagram @martin_soaries

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