Whitaker Named Lady Raider Head Coach

Former Lady Raider basketball player Candace Whitaker is coming home back to her alma mater to take over the Texas Tech women's basketball program.

Just like with the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury as the new football head coach in December and head baseball coach Tim Tadlock in May of 2012, Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt followed suit with his hire of the new women's basketball coach by keeping it in the family.

Hocutt made his third hire of a former Tech athlete in the year with the selection of Oklahoma State assistant coach Candace Whitaker as the new head coach of the Lady Raiders.

"I am excited to welcome Candi back to Texas Tech," Hocutt stated in a news release on Monday morning.  "It is indeed special to have a former student-athlete return to lead a program that they were a significant part of.  Her leadership characteristics as a starting point guard and coach, her ties to West Texas, her experience as a Division I head coach, as well as the fact that she is a Red Raider makes her the perfect fit to lead the Lady Raider Basketball into the future."

Whitaker is only 11 years removed from playing college ball under former Lady Raider great Marsha Sharp from 2000-2002, playing point guard and helping lead the Lady Raiders to the Sweet 16 in 2001 and 2002.

Following her time at Tech, Whitaker took to the coaching realm going to Valparaiso for two seasons before being named an assistant coach at UMKC in 2004.

Just three years later, Whitaker nabbed her first head coaching gig becoming the head coach of the ‘Roos in March of 2007 and at the age of 26, the youngest head coach in the country.

In her five seasons as the head coach, Whitaker led the program to new heights. In the 2009-2010 season, UMKC went 16-16 and earned its first-ever postseason berth to the Women's Basketball Invitational and in the 2011-2012 campaign school history continued to be made.

Whitaker coached UMKC to a 22-12 record, the ‘Roos advanced to the Summit League Tournament title game for the first time since 2005 and capped it all off with a berth to the WNIT for the first time in program history. The 20-win season also marked the first time since the 1991-1992 season the ‘Roos had eclipsed the 20-win mark.

"I think Candi Whitaker is a great fit for Texas Tech and Texas Tech is a great fit for her," former Lady Raider Head Coach and Hall of Famer Marsha Sharp said in a news release Monday morning.  "Her basketball IQ and work ethic are incredible.  She came out of one of the best high school programs in the country and was a great point guard at the collegiate level.  She made moves early in her career that prepared her for this opportunity."
Candace Whitaker will be formally introduced as the sixth head coach in Lady Raider basketball program history Wednesday morning at 11 a.m.

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