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John's Journal: Robbie Whitney Named Boys Basketball Coach At St. Francis

2016 Saints Grad Led New Life Academy To Two State Tournament Appearances

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2024 - 4:24 PM


Robbie Whitney.

A talented young coach who has taken teams to two state tournaments is returning to his high school alma mater. Robbie Whitney, a 2016 graduate of St. Francis High School, has been named head coach of the Saints boys basketball team.

In a statement posted on social media, the school said: It's with great pride that we'd like to announce our new boys basketball coach, Robbie Whitney! Robbie grew up in our basketball program and is a graduate of St. Francis. ... Our basketball family is thrilled to have Coach Whitney back home leading the program he helped establish as a player. Robbie's a champion and will continue the proud tradition of Saints boys basketball here in St. Francis.

Whitney played college basketball at Bethel and was a junior varsity coach at St. Francis. After becoming head coach at New Life Academy in Woodbury, he led the Eagles to state tournaments in 2022 and 2023. They placed third in 2022 and second in 2023 in Class 1A. In his two years at New Life, the team had an overall record of 54-10.

Whitney spent the 2023-24 season as a graduate assistant at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D.

I wrote about Whitney twice during his time at New Life. One story compared his young career with the lengthy careers of Spring Grove head coach Wade Grinde and assistant Tom Vix. You can read that story here: 

I also wrote about Whitney in the wake of a state championship loss to Russell-Tyler-Ruthton. He said, “I told (the players) to smile and keep their heads up. You know, it's never fun ending the season on a loss but man, taking second place at state? This is something that these guys are going to remember for the rest of their lives.”

That story is here: 

--MSHSL senior content creator John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

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