The Basics Help Timpview Win! “The BFS core lifts are the most important exercises for football: power cleans, squats, deadlifts, and bench presses,” Cary Whittingham
The Whittingham family knows football!
Fred Whittingham was a coach for the Los Angeles Rams from 1982-1991, his son Kyle is the head football coach for the University of Utah Utes, and Kyle’s younger brother Cary is the head coach for the Timpview High School Thunderbirds in Provo, Utah. This is Cary’s story.
Cary played linebacker at Brigham Young University from 1981-1985, earning a National Championship title in 1984, and played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1987. His accomplishments as a high school coach are equally impressive. Since he took over as head coach at Timpview High in 2012, the Thunderbirds have won three consecutive 4A state championships.
One of four high schools in the Provo School District, Timpview High School serves approximately 2,000 students in grades 9 through 12. It lies in the beautiful, mountainous valley of central Utah. As a graduate of Provo High School and BYU, Cary was familiar with the football environment in Provo and this no doubt led to a smooth transition into the head coaching position.
In the state championship game the Thunderbirds were facing an undefeated Roy High School, a team that won their semifinal game by a score of 39-0. The Royals shocked the Thunderbirds in the first half by holding them scoreless and giving up only 14 yards rushing. The last time the Thunderbirds didn’t score in the first half of a game was in 2007, a string of 103 straight games. However, thanks to its stubborn defense, the Thunderbirds were only down by seven, 0-7.
Timpview’s motto is, “Trust yourself, trust your team and trust your coaches,” and that turned out to be good advice in the second half. Cary and his staff were able to make the necessary adjustments, beginning with a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Britain Covey to Jordan Espinoza in the third to tie the game. The momentum continued to shift to the Thunderbirds as this was followed by a 70-yard punt return by Will Watanabe for a score. The Thunderbirds scored twice more and kept the Royals out of the end zone the entire second half to achieve a 28-7
With all the combined football knowledge in the Whittingham family you might think that Cary has learned many secrets to gridiron success. Not so. Cary says that among the keys to success in high school football are hard work, monitoring, and accountability. “You have to be sure the work is happening,” says Cary. And although he has the inside track on what his brother Kyle is doing with the Utes, he says that many of the offensive and defensive schemes used at that level are too advanced to implement at the high school level. Likewise, Cary sticks with the basics in his strength and conditioning program.
“The BFS core lifts are the most important exercises for football: power cleans, squats, Hex bar deadlifts, and bench presses,” says Cary. His program also includes plyometrics, medicine ball training, ladders, and the dot drill. As for auxiliary exercises, one of his favorites is the Turkish get-up, which he believes is a valuable exercise for developing core strength.
Although some parents believe that year-round specialization increases the odds of a high school athlete moving to the next level, Cary encourages his football players to participate in multiple sports. He believes that playing multiple sports teaches athletes how to compete. “Learning to complete carries over to the football field.” Such a philosophy has helped Timpview win state championships in both girls and boys sports; in fact, in the fall of 2013 Timpview teams won state championships in golf, football, volleyball and girls tennis.
Cary believes in year-round strength training, including in-season. The Timpview High School administration supports this training philosophy by scheduling weight training classes during the school day so as not to interfere with after school sports training and competition. In the summer, Cary and his staff supervises morning workouts in the weight room to ensure his athletes are ready for the upcoming sports year.
Asked what advice he would give to aspiring coaches, Cary replied, “Get a teaching certificate, because -- at least in Utah -- there is little money in coaching. Your career as a high school coach is going to be teaching. Beyond that, you need exposure to football – nothing replaces putting on a helmet and playing the game.” Cary also insists that he is happy with his current career choice and has no aspirations of coaching at the college or professional level.
Looking towards next year, Coach Cary Whittingham has the challenge of replacing his quarterback, but says that he has “a good core of talented kids coming back.” As for the record books, Timpview won four consecutive state championships from 2006 to 2010. Based on what we’ve seen from the Thunderbirds these past three years, the odds of breaking that mark are in their favor.