Tim Whittle named new men's basketball coach

By Daniel Kerwin

The college has concluded its search for a new head coach for the men’s basketball team, announcing that Tim Whittle will take the position.Whittle heads to Macalester from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as the top assistant coach since 2004. Whittle helped lead Washington University to back-to-back Division III national titles the past two seasons.

Whittle was also a four year player for Washington University while he was a student there. Although the decision to leave an institution to which he has such a close connection was tough, Whittle is looking forward to the chance that he will have at Macalester to shape his own basketball program.

“It was an easy decision for me to want to become the next head men’s basketball coach, but it was the hardest decision of my life to leave Washington University,” Whittle said. “The opportunity to build my own program with strong student-athletes excites me because I was one and I know the commitment, motivation and determination they have. The commitment by the Macalester administration to want the athletic experience to mirror the academic reputation is evident by the new Leonard Center and Alumni Gymnasium.”

Whittle’s hiring comes following a winless season by Macalester this past season. Former head coach Curt Kietzer resigned in February after 12 seasons at the helm. Although leaving the basketball “family” and winning tradition he helped form at Washington University, Whittle said he is looking forward tot taking what he learned and applying it to Macalester.

“I look forward to building these same relationships at Macalester and forming them into a winning tradition,” Whittle said.

Whittle admits that winning is not the number one reason why he is coaching, stressing his commitment to a combination of academic and athletic excellence. He said he appreciates Macalester’s emphasis on athletics being an extension of the types of life lessons that are learned within the classroom.

“I love the acronym ACE and I learned a long time ago to be accountable, make a commitment, and excellence will follow,” Whittle said. “Macalester College already has an excellent academic reputation and has made a commitment to improving the basketball reputation. Well, I will be accountable and committed and let the results follow.”

Before going into coaching, Whittle spent a few years working in the business world. Whittle, a self-admitted numbers nerd, graduated from Washington University with a degree in finance and management. He worked for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta upon graduating in 1996, and also spent time with SunTrust Bank.

He was working with the Florida Marlins as manager of finance, coordinating efforts to raise funds for a new baseball stadium, when he started his coaching career at University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., in 2001. While at University of the South, Whittle also spent time as an assistant cross country coach and as the head coach of the men’s golf team.

“I was fortunate to land as the assistant men’s basketball and head golf coach at the University of the South,” Whittle said. “Three years later, my former head coach, Mark Edwards, called and invited me back to Washington U to be his full-time assistant. I jumped at the opportunity to return to my alma mater and continue to build on the tradition I experienced as a student-athlete. It was a great decision and now I am ready for new challenges at Macalester.”

Whittle will launch himself straight into his new post, visiting campus during the end of this week to be formally introduced and also to assist in the current recruiting efforts for next year’s team.