Lindsay Whalen feels rejuvenated

Published 8:19 am Monday, May 21, 2018

It’s a little past 7:30 a.m. on a nondescript morning in the middle of May, and a tired Lindsay Whalen is about to start another double shift.

She takes a few minutes to scarf down breakfast at home before rushing to her office at the University of Minnesota. The newly hired head coach of the women’s basketball program spends the next couple of hours chatting with her coaching staff, finishing up some administrative work and planning the rest of the week.

Then it’s off Mayo Clinic Square, a 15-minute drive giving Whalen a brief, but much-needed, mental reprieve. As the longtime starting point guard for the Lynx, she must switch gears for an hour-long practice in preparation for Sunday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Sparks.

Email newsletter signup

Not long after practice wraps up, Whalen takes about 10 minutes to chat with the Pioneer Press, plopping down on a cushioned chair to get some extra rest before continuing with the rest of her day.

“There’s no NBA game tonight, so that’ll be good for me,” Whalen said with a laugh. “I’ll be able to get to bed early. Then I’ll get up tomorrow and do it all over again.”

Such is life for Whalen, 36, since she was hired by her alma mater to succeed Marlene Stollings, who left for the same position at Texas Tech.

Whalen made a name for herself with the Gophers more than a decade ago, leading the program to its only Final Four in 2004 while finishing second on the all-time scoring list with 2,285 points. She moved on to an illustrious post-graduate career that includes four WNBA championships and two Olympic gold medals.

While it was always a dream to coach the Gophers, Whalen acknowledged she never thought her playing and coaching careers would overlap.

“You never know when these types of opportunities are going to come up; I wanted to make sure I took advantage of it,” she said. “It’s a dream come true for me to be able to do this right now. It’s been really cool doing both. I’m definitely a little busier this season, that’s for sure.”

Dressed for success

Whalen likes to use the word “athleisure” to describe her sense of fashion. In other words, she tends to reach for a pair of sweat pants over a pair of dress pants. As a result, it’s easy for teammates such as Seimone Augustus to figure out what Whalen’s schedule looks like on a given day.

“We know as soon as she walks in,” Augustus said. “Sometimes she’ll have some nice clothes on and we’ll be like, ‘There’s a recruit coming in today.’ And she’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got a couple of them today.’

“Then the next day, she’ll have some U of M sweats on or something and we’ll be like, ‘It’s a chill day.’ And she’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I’ve just got some phone calls to make.’ “

By Dane Mizutani

Pioneer Press

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.