Former Lady Raider Candace Whitaker has been named the new Texas Tech women’s basketball coach, the school announced this morning.
Whitaker, who played for the Lady Raiders from 2000-2002, spent the past season as the associate head coach at Oklahoma State.
The former Tech point guard replaces Kristy Curry, who resigned May 11 to take over the Alabama program.
“I am excited to welcome Candi back to Texas Tech,” Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt said in a statement. “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 (program) into the future.”
Whitaker, 33, will be introduced during a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Also on Tuesday, Tech announced all of the assistant coaching positions of the women’s basketball team have been vacated, clearing the way for Whitaker to start with a new staff.
Assistant Shereka Wright and director of operations Grant Fausset are expected to join Kristy and Kelly Curry at Alabama.
There has been no word on assistant Katie Hensle’s future.
Whitaker's hire completes a full change of the coaching staffs of Tech’s four majors sports, all in the past year.
Former baseball coach Dan Spencer was fired last May after failing to make the NCAA tournament in each of his four seasons, posting a 44-61 record in Big 12 conference play.
Men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie resigned just before the 2012-2013 season started amid allegations of player mistreatment and health issues, and football coach Tommy Tuberville unexpectedly bolted for Cincinnati just after the completion of the regular season.
Whitaker becomes the third Tech alumni to take over one of the four major sports, joining Kliff Kingsbury (football) and Tim Tadlock (baseball).
The Canyon native played for two seasons at Seward County (Kan.) Community College before transferring to Tech.
Whitaker, who played for the Lady Raiders during the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons under her maiden name White, helped guide the Lady Raiders to two Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Former Tech coach Marsha Sharp, who was active in this hire and still works in the Tech athletic department, also released a statement:
“I think Candi Whitaker is a great fit for Texas Tech and Texas Tech is a great fit for her,” Sharp said. “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.”
After graduating from Tech, the former point guard spent two seasons as an assistant at Valparaiso before heading to UMKC as an assistant in 2004.
She became the head coach in December 2006, guiding the Roos to a 77-93 record during her tenure. In six seasons in Kansas City, she became the second most winningest coach in UMKC history.
In 2011, she guided the Roos to a 22-12 record and their first appearance in the WNIT.
Whitaker left UMKC in 2012 to join the Oklahoma State staff.