MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Lindsay Whalen said she’s likely to just settle in and watch the Minnesota Wild game Thursday night.
A bit of escape and distraction on her last night before coaching her first game.
Friday night, Whalen will be making her coaching debut, leading the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team in its season opener at Williams Arena. And as WCCO’s David McCoy tells us, if she’s nervous about it, she sure isn’t showing it.
For 15 years there was a pregame routine: Get your mind right, get your body right and get ready for the game. Lindsay Whalen might not need to stretch anymore.
“I can still stretch. I can still stretch. We’ll see, tomorrow what I need to do to be ready,” Whalen said.
Whalen is walking into a unique situation. Just months off retirement from playing, she’ll coach her first game ever, jumping right into head coaching.
Even she said she’s uncertain how she’ll feel come game time.
“We’ll see, I don’t know, I kind of want to stay pretty even-keel and pretty just stay right here, no matter up, no matter down,” Whalen said.
But if there’s one thing that’s clear, is that Whalen feels ready for this.
“I always hoped at some point I would work my way back here. You just don’t know in what timing and what capacity. So I’m just really thankful and just really appreciative of the timing for it all to work out,” Whalen said.
Quite a thing when none of your players can wear your number because it’s been retired and immortalized hanging from the rafters. But in a way, that’s a really good reminder for her team about the kind of personality she wants it to have. Just remember Lindsay as a player.
“As a player when I played, I was never going to be the fastest one or have the best jump shot, but I always knew I was going to be one of the toughest players in the gym,” Whalen said. “I knew no matter what I was going to do pretty much everything I could do for my team to win. And so I want our team to have that edge and that toughness.”
If she can do that, who says she can’t have the same kind of success as a coach?