The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full report, CLICK HERE.

Photo: Newly hired BYU women’s basketball coach Amber Whiting laughs during workout in Provo with her new team early this week. Photo credit: BYU Athletics

Trent Whiting still remembers the day he met Amber Russell.

It was at a gym at Snow College in Ephraim in 1998. He was playing on the men’s basketball team; Amber played for the women’s team.

“I couldn’t stop chasing her after that,” Trent remembered. “I had to convince her that I was worth looking at. From the day I met her, it’s been basketball ever since.”

Their courtship consisted of hanging out on a bus while going to places around the West for games, as the men’s and women’s teams at Snow traveled together. 

“Literally, we got to know each other on long bus rides,” Trent said. 

Trent and Amber eventually married, the summer right after she committed to Weber State and he committed to the University of Utah. 

To split the difference in their respective commutes to Ogden and Salt Lake City, they resided in Bountiful. 

“We went two different directions and met up at night,” Trent said, “when we weren’t on the road or traveling or playing.”

The Whitings ended up transferring to the same school — BYU — to finish their collegiate careers. But it wasn’t like they were a package deal.

Trent was recruited to BYU by Jeff Judkins, who had left Utah’s coaching staff to become the director of basketball operations for the Cougars. 

Trent played a key role in helping BYU turn around its men’s program in his only season in a Cougars uniform.

In 2000-01, the Cougars won the MWC Tournament under coach Steve Cleveland — it marks the last time BYU accomplished that feat — and earned its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995.

Amber was recruited by the BYU women’s coaching staff, then got pregnant while redshirting during the year Trent played for BYU.

She gave birth to their son, Jace, before Amber played one season for the Cougars.

BYU’s Trent Whiting, center, is hugged by Terrell Lydayduring after Whiting hit a 3-pointer and was fouled on March 8, 2001.Ravell Call, Deseret News
BYU’s Trent Whiting, center, is hugged by Terrell Lydayduring after Whiting hit a 3-pointer and was fouled on March 8, 2001.
Ravell Call, Deseret News

Not long after Amber finished her college hoops career, Judkins became the head coach of the women’s program.

More than 20 years later, on May 18, Amber Whiting was named as Judkins’ successor at BYU.

For the Whitings, it’s come full circle. 

“It is a small world, especially in our (Latter-day Saint) community and how many coaches can even apply for the job, right? It was really crazy that it worked out that way,” Trent said.

“It’s pretty cool how it’s all come home.”

‘It really happened quickly’

More than a month before Amber was hired by BYU as the head coach of the women’s team, she asked Trent, “What am I going to do when Amari’s gone?”

Amari, the Whitings’ daughter, is one of the top high school prospects in the country. She’s already committed to Oregon. Amari was gone, leaving the Whitings as empty-nesters for a few days. 

“I’ve got to figure out what I want to do,” Amber told her husband. 

Trent asked, “What are you passionate about?”

Amber said she still wanted to be a coach — maybe at the college level.

“I was like, really?” Trent said.

A week after that exchange, BYU announced that Judkins was retiring. Amber decided to pursue the position.

As the interviewing process became more intense, “I was like, ‘Holy crap. My wife might be a college coach soon,’” Trent said. 

To read the full report, CLICK HERE.