Former Texas Tech and UMKC head coach Candi Whitaker has been hired to lead the Missouri Western State University's women's basketball program.
Western made the announcement official Tuesday. An introductory press conference will take place at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at Spratt Memorial Stadium in the Hall of Fame Room.
"Candi is poised to make a difference at Missouri Western," Josh Looney, the university's director of athletics, said in a release. "We are not only adding an excellent basketball coach, but most importantly an outstanding leader and role model for the women in our athletic program. Candi and her family will be an asset to our university and the St. Joseph community. We are thrilled to welcome Candi, Matt, Westin, William and Callahan into the Griffon family"
Whitaker, 38, was most recently the head coach at Texas Tech from 2013-'18. The Red Raiders went 54-82 and 13-61 in the Big 12 in her four-plus seasons before she was relieved of her duties. She had signed a contract extension in 2015 that would've kept her in Lubbock until 2020.
During the 2014-'15 season, the Raiders experienced a nine-win increase overall and a five-win increase in conference play. She took over for Kristy Curry, who is currently the head coach at Alabama.
Prior to joining the Reid Raiders, Whitaker was an associate head coach at Oklahoma State for one season.
"My family and I could not be more excited to join the Missouri Western family," Whitaker said. "The tradition of the women's basketball program, facilities, community support and the toughest Division II conference in the country make MWSU a special place. I am excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work."
The Canyon, Texas, native and point guard started her playing career at Seward Community College in Kansas before moving on to and graduating from Texas Tech from 2000-'02 under her maiden name, White. She helped Tech to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Tournament. In 64 games, including 54 starts, she averaged 3.9 assists and 3.6 points per game.
After graduating from Tech, Whitaker 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 at the age of 26, 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, still just the second 20-win season in the program's history.
Whitaker left UMKC in 2012 to join the Oklahoma State staff reuniting with coach Jim Littell, who coached Whitaker, an honorable mention All-American, at Seward.
Whitaker began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Valparaiso from 2002-04. During her time at Valpo, the Crusaders won back-to-back Mid-Continent Conference Tournament Championships, achieved two NCAA Tournament berths and two 20-win seasons.
Whitaker takes over as the ninth head coach in the program's history following Rob Edmisson's resignation in March. She will be the first woman to be named head coach for the program since Terry Ellis in 1991-'92.