Lindsay Whalen, Ben Johnson to Guest Coach Gophers Spring Game

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Whalen, Johnson Named Guest Head Coaches for Spring Game

The University of Minnesota football team will hold its annual spring game at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 1 at TCF Bank Stadium and there will be some familiar faces on the sidelines.

Basketball coaches Lindsay Whalen and Ben Johnson will serve as guest head coaches. Whalen will help lead the Maroon team, while Johnson will help guide the Gold team. The spring game will once again end with the victorious team hoisting the coveted Goldy's Cup and a player being named the Sid Hartman Spring Game MVP.

“I’m honored to be a guest coach for the spring game and am thrilled to be on the Maroon team,” said Whalen, who has led the Minnesota women’s program since April 2018. “I know a little something about winning Gold and have no doubt that we will win Goldy’s Cup on May 1. I think the closest Coach Johnson has come to Gold is when he was asked to be the team’s guest head coach.”

Whalen is one of the best athletes to ever come out of Minnesota. She led the Gophers to the 2004 Final Four, won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx and helped Team USA win gold in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

“It’s going to be exciting to be back on the football field helping lead the Gold team to victory,” said Johnson, who was named head coach of the men’s basketball program on March 22. “I was fortunate to have a lot of success on Minnesota football fields in high school and expect that to continue during the spring game on May 1. Coach Whalen may have two goal medals from her basketball days, but I have the advantage on the football field and the Maroon team will win Goldy’s Cup.”

Johnson excelled in basketball and football in high school before focusing on basketball in college. He was a two-time, first-team all-state selection in football, and as a senior, was listed on Tom Lemming’s High School Football All-American list as a top-20 national recruit.

Minnesota’s annual spring game will be televised live on Big Ten Network and can be heard on local on KFAN and statewide on the Gopher Radio Network.

The spring game last season was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but two off-the-field traditions will also be returning this year.

First, the Gophers will once again host a diaper drive in conjunction with the spring game. Fans are encouraged to bring diapers to the game and drop them off outside the stadium near Tribal Nations Plaza (outside of West Plaza). These diapers will then be donated to the Diaper Bank of Minnesota where they will then be distributed to families in need.

Second, fans are encouraged to bring a decorated oar to the spring game. These customized oars will be added to the inside of TCF Bank Stadium as they adorn the hallway that the Gophers travel from their locker room to the field on game days. These inspirational oars are the final images the Gophers see before taking the field and serve as a way to connect the community and state with Gopher football.

Fans scooped up the 10,000 tickets in two hours and are excited to once again get an in-person glimpse of the Gophers. Those attending must wear a face covering that covers both the nose and mouth at all times inside TCF Bank Stadium. Tailgating will not be permitted on University property or in parking lots and bags will not be permitted inside the stadium. A complete list of spring game policies may be found here.

Parking lots and gates to the stadium will open at 10 a.m. Public parking will be available in the Maroon Lot, Victory Lot and Lot 37. Additional parking options may be found here.

Minnesota begins the regular season on Thursday, Sept. 2, against Ohio State. Season tickets are on sale now and start as low as $35 per game.

Go Gophers!!
 
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