The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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UNA welcomes Whitaker into Lion pride

Whitney Veazey

UNA’s Director of Athletics, Dr. Josh Looney, announced the end of the search for a women’s basketball coach on March 25. He was happy to announce the introduction of Candi Whitaker to the Lion family as the Lady Lions’ ninth head coach. 

Whitaker is bringing over 16 years of experience with the game to our girls. She has signed on for four years with the Lady Lions. She has coaching experience at three other universities, and UNA is reaping those benefits. Whitaker was named the 2023-24 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Coach of the Year for the outstanding performance of Missouri Western this last season. 

Looney and Whitaker worked together at Missouri Western for several years. He attested to her skill and impact on the sport and the community. 

“She’s going to empower and lead people and push them forward,” said Looney. 

Whitaker was officially introduced to the campus on April 4 during her introductory conference in the Pierce Hospitality suite at the CB&S Bank Arena. Mike Ezekiel, assistant AD for communications, opened the conference, followed by Looney and then Whitaker. At the end of the conference, she took questions from the audience and allowed for one-on-one meetings with those who wanted one.  

“We look forward to growing our fanbase and being in the community,” said Whitaker. “That is the connection to women’s basketball. It is your people, your young women that you can get out into the community and connect with.” 

Whitaker talked about wanting her players to play with the utmost confidence, which leads to freedom of play. She wants her players to not have to look to her for guidance every play and to have the confidence to make decisions that they believe are best. During the conference, Whitaker expressed how thankful she was for this opportunity and the chance to lead the Lions to victory. 

“Gratitude, for me, is everything,” said Whitaker. 

Whitaker also brought along her assistant coach from the season prior, Sandra Abston. She has brought over 10 years of experience to the Lions and looks to assist Whitaker in this new chapter in their lives. 

“I am beyond excited I get to continue to support her vision and impact the program and players in any way I can,” said Abston, according to

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About the Contributors
Trenedy Parks
Trenedy Parks, News Editor
Trenedy Parks is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Tenne. She is working towards a bachelor’s degree in journalism and digital media. She has worked as a staff writer for The Flor-Ala since Aug. 2022, and as News Editor since Aug. 2023. Her goals as a writer are to learn more about Florence and its community and to become more involved with the people of UNA.
Whitney Veazey
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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