35-year-old WNBA star to attempt a unique career combo -- college basketball head coach while still playing professionally

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  • The University of Minnesota has hired 5-time WNBA All-Star Lyndsay Whalen to be their women’s basketball coach.
  • Whalen intends to keep playing professionally for the Minnesota Lynx.
  • Several factors are working in Whalen’s favour that will allow her to pull off the rare double.

Sports fans have always been awed by player-coaches and two-sports stars, but one WNBA star is going to attempt to pull double-duty like sports fans have never seen before.

Minnesota Lynx point guard Lyndsay Whalen has been hired as the head coach at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota. But here’s the catch: the 3-time, first-team All-WNBA, and 5-time All-Star intends to keep playing in the WNBA.

The immediate question is “How?” Well, Whalen has a few things working in her favour.

The most important advantages for Whalen are that her two teams play in the same city – the home arenas are just three miles apart – and their schedules do not overlap. The WNBA season runs from May through August. The women’s team at Minnesota does not start their season until November. Even if the Lynx made the WNBA Finals, their season would be over by the first week of October.

Whalen also no longer plays internationally. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist but has retired from the U.S. national team. Additionally, like many WNBA players, she spent most of her career also playing overseas during the winter months. However, Whalen has not played for an overseas team since 2016.

At Minnesota, Whalen was a 3-time All-American and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

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