WNBA Hall of Famer Lindsay Whalen will step down as Minnesota head coach

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 10:  Head coach Lindsay Whalen of the Minnesota Golden Gophers looks on during a women's college basketball game against the George Washington Colonials at the Smith Center on December 10, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Lindsay Whalen is done as Minnesota head coach after nearly five seasons. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) (Mitchell Layton via Getty Images)

The greatest player in Minnesota program history is stepping down as its women's basketball head coach.

Golden Gophers head coach Lindsay Whalen is resigning her position effective immediately, the program announced Thursday. She will remain with Minnesota as a special assistant to athletic director Mark Coyle through April 2025.

Whalen, a four-time WNBA champion and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer who played for Minnesota from 2000 to 2004, returned to the Gophers as head coach before her playing career was even over, splitting duties between coaching and playing during her final season with the Minnesota Lynx in 2018.

Whalen accrued a 71-76 record with a 32-58 mark in Big Ten play across her five seasons coaching Minnesota. Her first season was her best, finishing sixth in the conference, but her teams never made the NCAA tournament.

Minnesota finished this season 11-19 and tied for second-to-last place in the Big Ten.

From Minnesota:

"I want to thank Mark and the University for giving me the opportunity to lead this program five years ago," said Whalen. "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."

Even if her coaching tenure didn't work out as hoped, Whalen remains one of the WNBA's greats and a player the program can point to for recruits. The Hutchinson, Minnesota native won four championships with the Minnesota Lynx and retired as the league's all-time winningest player (but has since been surpassed by Sue Bird).

Whalen is still the WNBA's all-time leader in playoffs assists with five All-Star selections, three first-team All-WNBA selections and a spot on the league's 25th Anniversary Team.