Candi Whitaker | Head Coach
Candi Whitaker was named the ninth head coach in Missouri Western Women's Basketball history in April of 2019.
Whitaker recently served as the head coach at Texas Tech from 2013-18. Previously she was an associate head coach at Oklahoma State (2012-13) and the head coach at UMKC (2006-12). She has coached 24 student-athletes to all-conference honors, 47 to academic all-conference status and produced seven nationally ranked recruiting classes. As a head coach, Whitaker’s student-athletes have posted a 100 percent graduation rate.
Named the sixth head coach at her alma mater in 2013, Whitaker turned around the program between year one and year two, going from seven wins to 15. In five seasons leading the Lady Raiders, Whitaker had four players named All-Big 12. In her final season at Texas Tech, Japreece Dean was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team after being named conference freshman of the week for a record six times. Whitaker led Texas Tech to four consecutive Big 12 Championship appearances and back-to-back quarterfinal appearances. Under Whitaker’s guidance, 11 Lady Raiders were named Academic All-Big 12 with eight earning spots on the Dean’s or President’s List.
Prior to one season as associate head coach at Oklahoma State, Whitaker became one of the youngest head coaches in women’s basketball, taking over the UMKC women’s program at age 26. She won 83 games at UMKC and left as the program’s second-winningest head coach. She led the ‘Roos to their first two NCAA Division I postseason appearances, the 2010 WBI and the 2012 WNIT. Whitaker’s 2011-12 UMKC team went 22-12 and advanced to the Summit League Tournament Championship for the first time in seven years. It remains the just the second 20-win season in the program’s time as a Division I member. Between 2008 and 2012, Whitaker produced more wins than UMKC had seen in a four-year period in 16 years. Whitaker recruited and coached UMKC’s all-time leading scorer Chanzy Morrison, and she mentored 36 Academic All-Conference selections.
Whitaker began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Valparaiso from 2002-04. During her time at Valpo, the Crusaders won back-to-back Mid-Continent Conference Tournament Championships, achieved two NCAA Tournament berths and two 20-win seasons.
Then Candi White, Whitaker helped Texas Tech to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances as a student-athlete from 2000-02. She started and played in all 64 games over two seasons under legendary head coach Marsha Sharp while totaling 232 points, 249 assists and 87 steals.
Prior to playing at Texas Tech, Whitaker played two seasons at Seward County Community College where she averaged 10.2 points and 10.8 assists and was named Honorable Mention NJCAA All-American. Whitaker’s 577 career assists at Seward County is still a record and she ranks third all-time with 225 steals.
Whitaker graduated from Texas Tech in 2002 with a degree in Exercise Sports Science and earned her Master’s in Sports Administration at Valparaiso in 2004. She and her husband, Matt Whitaker, have three sons, Westin, William and Callahan.
Emily Wacker | Assistant Coach
A native of Saline, Kansas, Emily (Wood) Wacker was the director of basketball operations for the Omaha women’s basketball team last season. After walking on at Nebraska, she earned a full-ride scholarship by her sophomore season and went on to become a four-year letter winner and earned the team’s Husker Award two straight seasons.
At Nebraska, Wacker was a recipient of Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award two times and earned a prestigious Dr. Barbara Hibner Trailblazer Scholarship. She was a team captain for a team that posted the nation’s largest increase in wins from one season to the next and made the NCAA Tournament.
Wacker received her B.S. in Business Administration from Nebraska in 2017 and her Master’s in Business Administration from Nebraska in 2018.