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Whitaker named women’s basketball head coach at UNA

FLORENCE – The University of North Alabama made quick work of its search for a new women’s basketball head coach.

Candi Whitaker, who has coached at University of Missouri-Kansas City, Texas Tech, and, most recently, Missouri Western, agreed to a four-year contract with the Lions.

She replaces Missy Tiber, who coached the Lions for 11 seasons.

Whitaker brings 16 years of head coaching experience to Florence. In five seasons with the Missouri Western Griffons, Whitaker had a record of 100-47 and led MWSU to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 2022 and the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Regular Season Championship in 2024. She was named the 2024 MIAA Coach of the Year.

“We’re bringing a difference maker to North Alabama with the addition of Coach Whitaker,” Director of Athletics Dr. Josh Looney said. “Candi is a talented coach whose leadership impact expands beyond her basketball program. I’m fortunate to have worked alongside Candi previously (at Missouri Western) and experienced her championship approach to program building. 

“From her positive interactions as a role model for the women in her program, to her influence and engagement with University colleagues and the community at large, Coach Whitaker will make a difference at UNA and her family will be an asset to the Shoals community. We’re excited to welcome Candi, (husband) Matt, (and children) Westin, William, and Callahan to The Pride!”

Whitaker becomes the ninth head coach in school history and takes over a program that has won more than 700 games since 1975. Whitaker brings a career record of 231-222.

“My family and I could not be more excited to join the UNA family and the Shoals community,” Whitaker said. “I was blown away by the campus and the city of Florence on my first visit. The community support and the rapid growth of UNA’s campus and success makes it an exciting time to be a Lion.

“I’d like to thank President Ken Kitts, Dr. Josh Looney, and the hiring committee for this opportunity, and I am ready to get to work.”

Before starting her coaching career, Whitaker played two seasons at Texas Tech and helped the Red Raiders to a pair of Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2001 and 2002. She was team captain both seasons after transferring from Seward Community College, where she was an NJCAA All-American and the NJCAA national assist leader in 2000.

Whitaker will be introduced at a press conference Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in the Pierce Hospitality Suite at CB&S Bank Arena in UNA’s Flowers Hall. The event will also be broadcast on ESPN+.

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