It was little surprise to most when Lady Raider head coach Candi Whitaker was fired last week. Since being hired in 2013 Whitakers win/loss record was 131/168 (.438). A far cry from the Marsha Sharp years when the Lady Raiders won Texas Tech it's first national championship in 1993.
At the time it seemed like a great hire. Whitaker was the associate head coach for an Oklahoma State team that finished 23/11. She was the second winningest coach in UMKC history and was also a former Lady Raider from 2000-02 where she helped Tech to two Sweet Sixteen appearances. She even had the blessing of Marsha Sharp herself, who was active in the hiring process.
It's difficult to say what went wrong whether it was poor recruiting or poor game time prep. Sometimes a coach just isn't the right fit. Bill Belichick was fired by the Browns after compiling a 36-44 record before finding success with New England.
What happened doesn't really matter. The question now is where does the women's basketball program go from here?
There have been a few names thrown around as potential replacements. Recently assistant coach Shimmy Gray-Miller took over as the interim head coach, but it's very doubtful that she will become a permanent hire. The most common name to mentioned is Lady Raider great Sheryl Swoopes, who was recently promoted to an assistant coach. The problem with Swooped is that she might have been too good a player to be a good coach. A lot of times these great players turned coaches have a hard time dealing with less talented players who aren't able to do some of the things that came easy to said coach. This clearly has been a problem for Swoops in the past as she was fired from Loyola after a high player turnover rate. That being said, I can't think of a potential recruit who wouldn't want a chance to learn from the “Michael Jordan” of women's basketball. Maybe she learned from her mistakes at Loyola, but it would definitely be a gamble.
In my opinion, the best candidate for the head coaching position is right here in our backyard. Steve Gomez led the Lubbock Christian University Lady Chaps to a national championship in 2016 after a perfect 35-0 season. It would be a great step in his career and he wouldn't even have to relocate. It's a win win for all involved.
Who should coach the Lady Raiders next season
This poll is closed
Other (let me know in tbe comments)
What's your take?