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BYU hires alumna Amber Whiting to lead women's basketball program

BYU guard Shaylee Gonzales dribbles down the court during an NCAA women's basketball tournament first-round game on Saturday, March 19 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

BYU guard Shaylee Gonzales dribbles down the court during an NCAA women's basketball tournament first-round game on Saturday, March 19 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

PROVO — BYU women's basketball has a new head coach, and a familiar name to run the program.

The Cougars announced Wednesday the hiring of Amber Whiting to replace recently retired Jeff Judkins, becoming the seven head coach in BYU's NCAA history dating back to 1972.

"I am super excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at BYU," Whiting said in a statement from the school. "I've been in basketball my whole life playing, coaching and developing players, and I am looking forward to doing it again at this level. Coach Judkins established a great tradition of winning and a strong culture with some incredible players. I can't wait to get on board and continue that legacy and surround myself with a great staff. I am ready to get to work."

A first-time collegiate head coach, the BYU alumna who earned a degree in history and teaching in 2001 returns to Provo after a strong career in the high school and youth ranks, most recently as head coach of the Burley High School girls basketball team that won the 2022 Idaho state championship. Named the 4A Coach of the Year by the Idaho Statesman, Whiting led Burley to a 70-37 overall record in four seasons.

In addition to her time at Burley, Whiting also coached the Adidas U-17 3SSB Select Team on the spring/summer circuit under the Natalie Williams Basketball Academy umbrella and directed Utah Hard Knox, one of the more prestigious club programs in the Beehive State.

In BYU, Whiting inherits a program coming off arguably the best season in program history, including a program-record 26 wins and just four losses in Judkins' final season of a historic 21 years at the helm of the program. And while a handful of senior stars like Paisley Harding Johnson, Sara Hamson and point guard Maria Albiero have graduated, team also brings back leading scorer Shaylee Gonzales (18.3 points per game) and walking double-double Lauren Gustin (10.7 ppg, 11.6 rebounds per game) with one year remaining in the West Coast Conference before joining the Big 12.

"I am thrilled to have Amber Whiting leading our BYU women's basketball team," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. "Through our hiring process we discovered a coach with a well thought out, specific plan for the future of this team. Amber has had a unique and widespread experience in basketball, has a great feel for the women's game and the direction it is heading at BYU, in the Big 12 and nationally."

Whiting played basketball at Snow College, where she was a team MVP for two years and an All-America honorable mention in 1999 while leading the Badgers in scoring and assists. The Fremont High alum and Ogden native (nee: Russell) went on to play one season at Weber State before transferring to BYU for her final season in 2000-01.

Whiting's husband is Trent Whiting, the former Snow College All-American who spent a year at Utah before wrapping up his career at BYU in 2001, averaging 14.2 points per game en route to all-conference honors before a 12-year professional career in Italy.

The couple has two children: Amari, who has committed to Oregon and will be a senior in high school next year, and Jace, who recently returned from a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has signed with Boise State.

Rated the No. 33 prospect in the Class of 2023 by ESPN, Amari Whiting averaged 26.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game as a junior for Burley.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for KSL.com since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.

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