BYU picks Cougar alum to lead women’s basketball program

After leading her Idaho high school team to a state championship, Amber Whiting takes over for the recently retired Jeff Judkins in Provo

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU Cougars center Sara Hamson (22) and BYU Cougars guard Tegan Graham (10) laugh as Maria Albiero (5) strikes a pose as BYU celebrates their win over the Pepperdine Waves this year. On Wednesday, the Cougars named Amber Whiting as the team's new head coach.

The BYU women’s basketball program has entered a new era.

After former coach Jeff Judkins retired last month not long after indicating he planned to return next season, the Cougars have someone new at the help to replace the winningest coach in all of BYU hoops — both men and women.

Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announced Wednesday that he has hired Amber Whiting as the new coach of the women’s basketball team. She played for the Cougars from 2000-2001.

“I’ve been in basketball my whole life playing, coaching and developing players, and I am looking forward to doing it again at this level,” Whiting said in a news release. “Coach Judkins established a great tradition of winning and a strong culture with some incredible players. I can’t wait to get on board and continue that legacy and surround myself with a great staff. I am ready to get to work.”

A native of Ogden, Whiting was most recently the coach at Burley High School in Idaho, leading the Bobcats to a state championship. Her daughter, Amari, is committed to play for the University of Oregon. Her son, Jace, is committed to Boise State.

Whiting also has helmed AAU programs, including the Utah Hard Knox. She was also the head coach of the Adidas 17U 3SSB Select Team for the Spring/Summer Shoe Circuit for the Natalie Williams Basketball Academy.

Whiting graduated from BYU in 2001. Her husband, Trent, played at Snow College, Utah and BYU.

“Through our hiring process we discovered a coach with a well thought out, specific plan for the future of this team,” Holmoe said. “Amber has had a unique and widespread experience in basketball, has a great feel for the women’s game and the direction it is heading at BYU, in the Big 12 and nationally.