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Lindsay Whalen Juggles Jobs as a W.N.B.A. Player and an N.C.A.A. Coach

MINNEAPOLIS — Lindsay Whalen had already secured her legacy within the state of Minnesota.

She led the College of Minnesota girls’s basketball group to a Ultimate 4 as a participant, after rising up in Hutchinson, Minn., about an hour’s pressure from campus. After a a hit tenure with the Connecticut Solar, she returned to Minnesota in 2011 to enroll in the Lynx, and served as level guard for 4 W.N.B.A. championship groups and two different journeys to the finals, an important cog in essentially the most sustained luck via any team in league historical past.

And but, there was once a brand new reason why to cheer this month when Whalen joined her teammates on “Minnesota Lynx Night time” at Goal Box sooner than a Twins recreation towards the Toronto Blue Jays.

Whalen turned into the ladies’s basketball trainer at Minnesota in April, and can proceed to be the principle level guard of the protecting champion Lynx for the W.N.B.A. season, which starts Friday.

Her two workplaces are about 3 miles aside, and a supply of a few emotional whiplash.

“You simply roughly need to compartmentalize issues, prioritize,” Whalen mentioned after a up to date Lynx apply. “And you have got to put on other hats from time to time. If it’s recruiting, if it’s fund-raising, no matter it’s, after apply or at night time, you roughly have to change gears lovely fast.”

The 2 seasons received’t fairly overlap, although the Lynx take their standard commute to the W.N.B.A. finals in mid-September, about two months sooner than the Golden Gophers play their first regular-season recreation.

However bodily, the twin roles imply becoming a task inside a task — early-morning calls and emails sooner than getting into apply to present her 36-year-old frame the power and power essential to energy thru its 15th W.N.B.A. season. After which what?

“Simply completed apply and going to move over to the U to paintings for the remainder of the day,” Whalen mentioned, matter-of-factly, as though everybody works two such high-profile jobs.

Lynx Trainer Cheryl Reeve had for sure that Whalen may just deal with this trail. She even reached out to Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle inside an hour of the former trainer, Marlene Stollings, leaving this system for Texas Tech.

The quantity of people that have effectively navigated this two-track route can also be counted on one finger: Crack of dawn Staley, who constructed the Temple girls’s basketball program as she completed her W.N.B.A. enjoying profession. Reeve noticed it firsthand as an assistant with Staley’s Charlotte Sting.

Staley, too, is a believer in Whalen’s talent to control the 2 jobs and presented her some recommendation: Get your exercise in early, or it received’t occur. Get ready to surrender maximum of your social existence. Bring together an elite workforce, which Whalen has, hiring Carly Thibault-Dudonis clear of Mississippi State and bringing in her former Gopher teammate Kelly Roysland, who were the Macalester School trainer.

“I advised Lindsay lately that she must be a participant so long as she will be able to,” Staley mentioned in a convention name with newshounds this month. “It’s nice delight to be on each side of the whistle. And mentally, it’s slightly bit other. It’s a breath of clean air for her to play for the following 4 or 5 months after which get into the swing of items of training a school basketball group.”

Reeve is observing Whalen take that subsequent step in actual time, one she herself made when, after a a hit run as a W.N.B.A. assistant, she took the helm of the Lynx in 2010. She mentioned the transition was once about getting access to other portions of her persona.

“One time it’s a must to be very arranged and vocal and plan and be the voice,” mentioned Reeve, who may be the overall supervisor. “And different instances, you’re nonetheless the voice, however it’s slightly other in the case of what you take into accounts.”

Whalen mentioned there’s a distinction now not most effective in what she says, however in the best way she listens. As she is practising with the Lynx, she has begun to mentally jot down approaches Reeve takes, even asking her trainer to turn her what a specific play or drill is and the way she teaches it.

“It’ll be roughly like having every other summer time internship the place I’ll be studying much more from her and observing her much more carefully than I most probably had sooner than,” Whalen mentioned of Reeve. “The way in which she does issues as a group in combination is actually on the very best stage. I’ll be studying from one of the crucial best possible evidently.”

This is a part of a multiyear plan Whalen had already installed movement sooner than the Minnesota activity got here alongside. Two years in the past, she took an internship with the Lynx all the way through the low season, operating with Reeve and Roger Griffith, the overall supervisor on the time. She did participant reviews, slicing up video clips and seeing what sort of have compatibility the entrance place of business could be as soon as her enjoying profession ended. And this previous low season, Whalen labored within the broadcast realm, contributing to Timberwolves telecasts at the males’s facet, and dealing girls’s video games for the Large Ten Community.

The pursuit of a championship within the hypercompetitive W.N.B.A. is serving as a coaching floor for Whalen’s new training activity. A 36-year-old level guard wishes to restrict her mins to stay recent for the W.N.B.A. playoffs, so any recruiting journeys Whalen has to suit into her summer time time table can also be leisure for her. And making FaceTime calls to potential gamers might raise just a little extra weight when it comes from, say, the locker room of a four-time W.N.B.A. championship group.

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