Whitaker Introduced As Lady Raider Basketball Head Coach|
May 22, 2013
Candace Whitaker, a two-year letterwinner at Texas Tech and the point guard for a pair of Sweet 16 teams, returns to her alma mater to become the sixth head coach in Lady Raider basketball history.
Texas Tech formally introduced Whitaker in front of a packed room Wednesday in a press conference at the United Spirit Arena.
"I am excited to welcome Candi back to Texas Tech," Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt stated. "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 Lady Raider Basketball into the future."
Whitaker comes home to Texas Tech after spending last season as the associate head coach at Oklahoma State under Jim Littell. Prior to her time in Stillwater, she served as head coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for six seasons (2006-2012).
Whitaker's move to the Big 12 Conference and Oklahoma State was preceded by a five-year tenure in Kansas City where she became the school's second-winningest head coach.
"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 Sharpsaid. "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."
In 2011-12, she guided the `Roos to one of the most successful seasons in school history, finishing with a 22-12 record. UMKC advanced to the Summit League Tournament title game for the first time since 2005. Whitaker's squad capped the campaign with the program's first-ever appearance in the WNIT.
Additionally, UMKC's win total marked the first time the program eclipsed the 20-win mark since the 1991-92 season.
The 2009-10 campaign saw the `Roos post a 16-16 mark and earn their first-ever postseason berth with a trip to the inaugural Women's Basketball Invitational. Whitaker produced three first-team all-league picks during her time at UMKC and also had 36 student-athletes receive academic all-conference recognition.
The Canyon, Texas native began her coaching career at Valparaiso, where she spent two seasons before joining the staff at UMKC as an assistant coach in 2004. Whitaker took over the program in March of 2007, becoming one of the youngest head coaches in the nation at 26.
Her players followed Whitaker's toughness on the court and in the classroom. All student athletes who completed eligibility under Whitaker at UMKC went on to graduate. Whitaker coached 36 Summit League Academic all-League selections and 14 Distinguished Scholars during her time in Kansas City.
Whitaker's move to Stillwater also marks her return to the Big 12 Conference where she spent two years as a player at Texas Tech under legendary coach Marsha Sharp.
As the Lady Raiders' starting point guard, she directed the team to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances. Prior to her stint in Lubbock, Whitaker played two seasons for current OSU head coach Jim Littell at Seward County (Kan.) Community College. She led the nation in assists during the 1999-2000 season and was also named an honorable mention NJCAA All-American.
Whitaker received her degree in exercise sports science from Texas Tech and also holds a master's degree in sports administration from Valparaiso. She and her husband, Matt, have one child, Westin.