Back to the Barn
Since leading the Golden Gopher women’s basketball team to the Final Four in 2004, Lindsay Whalen has won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx, earned two Olympic gold medals with Team USA, and competed for teams in Russia, the Czech Republic, and Turkey during the off-season. As she ends her professional playing career, Whalen takes the reins of the Gophers as head coach, returning to a program she almost single-handedly resurrected with her intensity, magician-like passing, and infectious love of the game.
What drives you as a player, coach, and winner?
The people you’re with, the people you’re around. I want to do well for the state of Minnesota. I’m from Hutchinson, I have a lot of pride in where I’m from, and it’s driven me my whole career, my whole life. I want to do well for the people I grew up with, for sure.
The U recently built Athletes Village, which was funded in part with private gifts. As a coach, how important is philanthropic support?
It shows that people take pride in the University. Many of them are proud alumni, so it’s a cool way for them to give back and make sure our student-athletes are having the best possible chance to be successful on and off the court. I’m really grateful for all those generous donations.
How does it feel to be returning to the U and Williams Arena?
Oh, I can’t wait to get there. It just has that unbelievable feeling, and I want our kids to have that same feeling and that same sense of pride playing in front of a sold-out Williams Arena. Of course you want to win, but at the end of the day when you think of college, it’s about growing as a person and creating memories that last a lifetime. Playing at sold-out Williams is definitely a memory that will last a lifetime.