Unlike their male counterparts, the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team had, what can be considered, a successful 2017-18 season. Last month’s upset victory over Green Bay (Nice), marked the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2009.
On top of tasting some March Madness success, the Maroon and Gold are set to return three starters for next year’s campaign. When you consider all of the positivity surrounding the women’s hoops squad, Monday’s news seemed to come out of left field:
Marlene Stollings leaving #Gophers basketball for Texas Tech.
— Star Tribune Sports (@StribSports) April 9, 2018
Okay, okay. Do your thing, Marlene. Or should I say, Tubby?
While Tubby Smith’s departure was to prevent his inevitable shit-canning, that doesn’t seem to match the motivation behind Stollings’ relocation to Texas. Back in August 2015, even before the earlier mentioned success and seemingly bright future, her contract was extended through 2020-21. I know that doesn’t handcuff a University’s from moving in a new direction, but you’d assume the U of M was more than happy to pay her annual $500K salary.
Whatever the reasoning may be, it is what it is. This (despite what the NCAA wants you to think) is business. After four years as the HC of Gophers women’s b-ball, Marlene Stollings is onto the next one.
Speaking of onto the next one, we are probably going to want to hire a replacement. That makes sense, right?
In regards to women’s basketball in the State of Minnesota, Lindsay Whalen is the Queen (Beyoncé who?). While that’s the first name that jumped into my head to replace Stollings, the logical part of my brain got pissed. That’s a pipe dream, right? Surprisingly enough, maybe not:
Along with her Gopher and Lynx legend, Marcus Fuller’s StarTribune article mentions Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State HC), Niele Ivey (Notre Dame Asst.), and Nikki Lowry-Dawkins (Gophers Asst.) as other names to watch. With all due respect to those individuals, if I’m Mark Coyle, this shit is simple.
As long as there is a possibility that Lindsay Marie Whalen may become Minnesota’s next women’s basketball coach, this job stays open. The position is available at her convenience. What the Hutchinson native lacks in coaching experience, she more than makes up for with her basketball experience. Even if she can’t coach a lick (I’m sure she can), the recruiting implications alone would be positive.
I know my advocating for Whalen to call the playing part of her career quits may sting some Lynx fans. However, the 4x champs will be just fine. Cheryl Reeve is rock-solid. You’d also assume that Reeve would be a rock-solid mentor: