The 74-year-old has bankrolled the club from the fourth tier of English football to the Premier League since taking over in 1995, but appears to be ready to step aside.
He is lining up his 21-year-old grandson David as a possible successor.
"The time comes for everyone when you need to retire or take a step back because you're simply not what you used to be," he said according to the Daily Mirror.
"What I would like to do is create a dynasty here at Wigan Athletic. My grandson is a bright boy, and is massively keen on football and Wigan Athletic. I'm inclined to let him have a go and I hope that happens."
He added: "I've enjoyed myself immensely. We've come from the fourth division to the Premier League. It is a dream come true."And with the Latics sitting rock bottom of the Premier League - and missing the chance to climb out of the relegation zone with a 3-3 draw against fellow strugglers Blackburn on Saturday - Whelan admitted their five year stay in the top flight could end this season.
"I don't think it will be [devastating], but our time in the Premier League may come to an end this season," he added.
"If that happens, I'm not worried. There is resilience in this club that is unlike any other I have come across. This club will always be here for the people of Wigan."