Since graduating from Texas Tech in 2002, Coach Candi Whitaker has made her mark on universities across the country but now she returns home to Lubbock, no longer as the starting guard, but as the Lady Raiders head coach.
Whitaker said, "Coming back to a program that impacted your life so greatly, it's just a special thing."
Whitaker's basketball career tipped off at Valparaiso University in Indiana.
Two years later at just 26-years-old whitaker took the reins of the women's program at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She became the second winningest coach in the school's history.
Whitaker then stepped on to Jim Littell's staff at Oklahoma State as the associate head coach.
At 33-years-old, she is one of the youngest head coaches in the Big 12 Conference, but she knows how to win in the game of basketball, whether she's holding a clipboard or a ball.
As a player, Whitaker lead the Lady Raiders to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances.
"There's just such a level of pride and tradition that comes with it and I want to really instill that in these players and continue to grow the culture in that direction. When people grow up in this area, I want them to still want to be a Lady Raider," said Whitaker.
Whitaker was that girl that grew up on the South Plains dreaming of being a Lady Raider and that same passion still pumps through her veins today.
She has taken that passion and vision and shared it with her players.
"We want to show up every single day. When you're doing everything you can in every avenue of your life you're going to be successful," said Whitaker.
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