MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s two things unique about Lindsay Whalen being named head coach of the Gophers: One, she doesn’t have any experience. And two, she plans to keep playing for the Lynx, while she coaches. But she, and those close to her say, they see those things as advantages, not obstacles.
“I think getting some really experienced staff here is going to be great and just help me along with the day to day. I mean, I’ve seen how the best coaches do it, but then to actually do it myself, will be a really fun challenge,” Whalen said.
Whalen’s credentials as a player are not in question, but her lack of coaching experience did give Mark Coyle pause. He reached out to Cheryl Reeve and Geno Auriemma about that, and came away reassured.
“Once I had a chance to talk to them, it made complete sense this is the direction we’re going to go in,” Coyle said.
Because some things trump experience.
“She’s got more experience than what everybody realizes. She comes with more experience, as far as knowing the game and coaching and what Minnesota’s all about, what this state’s about, what the community’s about, you can’t teach that to anyone,” Whalen’s college coach Pam Borton said.
As for coaching while playing, Whalen’s not the first to try it, nor would she be the first to have success doing it. She said she’s been in touch with Dawn Staley, who took Temple to four NCAA Tournaments while playing in the WNBA from 2000 to 2006.
“Balancing those things will obviously be my job, but it’s gonna be a lot of fun too, and I think that that’s going to bring a lot of positivity,” Whalen said.