March 2, 2023 

Lindsay Whalen steps down as Minnesota head coach

The Minnesota coach leaves the program after compiling a 71-76 record over five seasons

The University of Minnesota announced on Thursday that Lindsay Whalen will step down as the women’s basketball head coach. However, she will remain at Minnesota as a special assistant to athletic director Mark Coyle through April 12, 2025.

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“I want to thank Mark and the University for giving me the opportunity to lead this program five years ago,” Whalen said in a statement. “It was an honor of a lifetime. I am grateful to my assistant coaches and staff and want to thank them for everything they did for our student-athletes during the last five years. We did things the right way and created a lot of memories, 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.”

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Minnesota finished the 2022-23 season on Wednesday after losing to Penn State, 72-67, in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Gophers finished the year 11-19 overall and 4-14 in Big Ten play, good for 12th in the conference.

In Whalen’s five seasons leading the program, Minnesota never finished with a winning record in conference play. The Gophers’ best season came Whalen’s first year when they finished the 2018-19 season 21-11 (9-9 Big Ten) and reached the second round of the WNIT.

Overall, Minnesota finished 71-76 under Whalen, who starred in Minneapolis as a player from 2000-04.

“We’ve got a great team, great chemistry in that locker room,” Coyle said at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. “That’s a credit to Lindsay and the hard work she’s done. Our intention is to go out and get a great coach that can help lead this program because there is no reason why it cannot be done at Minnesota. No reason at all.”

Whalen was not at the press conference, but Coyle emphasized the mutual nature of the decision, citing his deep admiration for what she means to the university.

“When I came back (to Minnesota) as AD, one of the first lunches I had was with Lindsay Whalen,” he said. “A lot of people know Minnesota basketball because of Lindsay Whalen because she is an icon. She’s (on) Mount Rushmore of Minnesota athletics.”

Written by Eric Rynston-Lobel

Eric Rynston-Lobel has been a contributor to The Next since August 2022. He covered Northwestern women's basketball extensively in his four years as a student there for WNUR and now works as a sports reporter for the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire.

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