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Fremont High alum Russell-Whiting named BYU women’s basketball head coach

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | May 18, 2022

Photo supplied, BYU Athletics

In this undated photo, Burley High School (Idaho) head girls basketball coach Amber Whiting, left, speaks to her daughter, player Amari Whiting (1), during a game.

BYU announced the hire of its new women’s basketball head coach Wednesday following the retirement of 21-year head coach Jeff Judkins one month ago, and it was a surprise with Northern Utah ties.

Amber Whiting is BYU’s next women’s basketball head coach, the program’s seventh head coach since becoming an NCAA program in 1972. Whiting, formerly Amber Russell, is an alumnus of Fremont High School and played college basketball at Snow College, Weber State and BYU.

“I am super excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at BYU,” Whiting said in a news release from the school. “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.

“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.”

Whiting comes to BYU after being girls basketball head coach at Burley High School in Idaho — most recently having coached the Bobcats to the 2021-22 state championship — as BYU heads into the Big 12 Conference.

“I am thrilled to have Amber Whiting leading our BYU women’s basketball team,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “Through our hiring process, we discovered a coach with a well thought out, specific plan for the future of this team. 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.”

Whiting is married to Trent, a former Snow College, Utah and BYU men’s basketball player. Their daughter, Amari, is a four-star point guard ranked 32nd in the 2023 recruiting class by ESPN. She’s currently verbally committed to Oregon. Their son, Jace, is signed to play at Boise State after recently returning from missionary service.

Whiting was female athlete of the year at Fremont High in 1997. She went on to play two seasons at Snow College, played at Weber State in the 1999-2000 season, and finished her career at BYU in the 2000-01 season.

In addition to her high school coaching, Whiting has been the head coach for the 17U Adidas select team for the notable Natalie Williams Basketball Academy and has directed the Utah Hard Knox girls AAU program.

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