Gophers alumni Lindsay Whalen is applauding the shift in culture she's noticed at her alma mater.
Whalen, the Lynx star who was part of Tuesday’s 2019 Final Four planning period kickoff ceremony in downtown Minneapolis, said “I think everything is moving on and moving upward, and as an alum that’s all you can ask.”
The former women’s basketball All-American and arguably the program’s best all-time player said she closely followed news of the Gophers football scandal and the university’s action; has noticed the impact athletic director Mark Coyle has had in his first year; and taken notice of the success each basketball team is experiencing this season.
“It’s obviously been a lot over the last month with everything going on. I feel like now, though, they made the decision on the football coach and the teams that are playing right now are doing well.
“It seems like [the university is] doing a lot. They got the new athletic complex center for athletes. I think they are just trying to change the culture and trying to be successful on the court and successful off the court, too. [Success] in the classroom and the community has been a big emphasis from the new AD Mark Coyle and you can see that just with everything that they’re doing over there.”
That included firing football coach Tracy Claeys in the aftermath of the football scandal and hiring the inspiring P.J. Fleck, who placed an emphasis on the program serving the community and giving to others instead of focusing only on football.
Whalen has also been impressed with the men’s basketball team’s success (15-3) and plans to show her support for the programs in the coming months.
“The men have a good team. They’re fun to watch,” Whalen said. I’m going to get over there as much as I can to support the men and the women.
“Hopefully things will continue to go in the right direction and our teams will do well and our student-athletes will be doing well in the classroom and community. That’s ultimately what you want, that balance. When you can strike that, it’s really good for everyone.”