Lindsay Whalen to coach Gophers and play for Lynx

Former Gophers star and current Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen will coach the women’s basketball team at her alma mater starting next season.

Athletic director Mark Coyle made the announcement Thursday, although the hiring still needs official approval from the school’s board of regents.

Whalen, who has played in the WNBA for 14 seasons and helped the Lynx to championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017, will continue to play for the Lynx after taking on her new position with the Gophers.

The Lynx are scheduled to open their regular season on May 20 and the latest possible date for the WNBA Finals is Sept. 16. The Gophers women’s basketball team will start their season in early October.

“I have so many special memories at the University of Minnesota,” Whalen said in a statement. “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.”

The 35-year-old Minnesota native will replace Marlene Stollings, who left earlier this week to become head coach at Texas Tech.

Whalen led the Gophers to the Sweet 16 during her junior season in 2003 and then the program’s only Final Four appearance in 2004. She was the school’s first three-time All-American and was also Minnesota’s all-time points leader until Rachel Banham passed her in November 2015.

She announced in February that she was retiring from international play after winning Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2012 and 2016 and world championship gold medals in 2010 and 2014.