Ex-Gopher Whalen new Minnesota women's basketball coach

Lindsay Whalen returns to coach women's basketball team

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have hired Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen as the women's basketball coach-but that doesn't mean the 35-year-old's playing career is over.

"At every level, basketball has given me so much", Whalen said in a statement.

Wagner finished third all-time in scoring for the Gophers with 2,215 points.

Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle said Whalen was an easy choice.

The Lynx begin their season with the home opener on Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 p.m. She had played for the U.S. National team since 2002, joining Team USA following her sophomore season with the Gophers, and played for two gold medal teams at the World Championships.

- The Minnesota Lynx didn't have to go too far to find their third pick in the WNBA draft. She was a three-time All-Big Ten selection who led the Gophers to their only Final Four berth in 2004. "I'm ready to get started".

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In a statement Thursday, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve congratulated Whalen. "As I started this process with the University of Minnesota, it was important to me that I returned to the Lynx this season", she said in a separate statement from the WNBA team.

"People talk about the "it" factor, and that is always hard to define, but everyone who has ever spent time around Lindsay Whalen knows she has it", Coyle said in a statement.

Whalen may end up helping the Lynx to another title as well, considering she isn't going to stop playing either. That's why she and the school reached an agreement that allows her to continue her WNBA career while also handling the duties of a Division I coach.

She replaces Marlene Stollings, who left Minnesota after four years to take over the program at Texas Tech.

A clue, perhaps, of Minnesota's immediate interest in Whalen could be found in the official job requirements, listed at the top of the job posting for Gophers women's basketball coach.

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