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Getting Involved

From Brighton to the Super Bowl: Catching Up with Chiefs Coach and BHS Grad Alex Whittingham

(Photos courtesy of Alex Whittingham)

While millions of viewers will tune into Super Bowl LVII for the action on the field and for entertaining ads, Canyons School District has another rooting interest.

We’re cheering for one of the guys on the sideline: Alex Whittingham.

Whittingham, a Class of 2010 Brighton High alumnus, is the defensive quality control coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. This is his fifth season on the staff of Chiefs coach Andy Reid. If his name sounds familiar, yes, Whittingham is a former University of Utah football player and a son of Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham.

With an assist from Canyons District administrator and former Brighton High principal Charisse Hilton, who developed a lifelong friendship with Alex during their time together as Bengals, Whittingham generously took time leading up to his NFL team’s showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles to answer questions for Canyons District.

What is your favorite memory of Brighton High?

Whittingham: Nothing can compare to Friday Nights in The Jungle. The brotherhood that was built on those football teams is something I’ve carried with me and cherish. Also, the faculty. Of course, I appreciate all my teachers, coaches and counselors (and principal!). Just hanging out in the halls and Senior Ramp in between classes is when some of the funniest times were had. Have to mention the school dances! Those were always so fun and I loved doing all the activities with everybody. Lastly, my man Knute Rockne. Great coach, even better person.

What would you tell your coaches and teachers now? Is there anyone at Brighton who made an impact on your life you’d like to mention on the District website?

Whittingham: Thank you. Thank you so, so much. Thank you for putting up with me because I know I was probably a handful back then. Thank you for your time and effort you put into educating us students and giving us as great of a high school experience as possible. I may not remember every lesson that was taught or every book that we read, but I do remember how my teachers made me feel. I felt respected, heard, and understood by so many teachers and I will always be grateful for that. It’s impossible for me to name names because I will inevitably forget to mention one that deserves to be mentioned. Just know that if you had me as a student, I appreciate you. 

What has made you more nervous: playing high school football in front of friends and hometown fans or being at the Super Bowl?

Whittingham: Now that is a tough one! They both have their own unique kind of nervousness. Playing at Brighton, I wanted to make the fans proud, my parents proud, and my teammates and coaches proud. Coaching in the Super Bowl might have the slight edge here. However, in both cases, once the game starts and the ball is kicked, most nerves and anxiety go out of the window. That’s one of the beautiful things about football. It’s easy to get lost in (it) once the game starts, because it all comes at you so fast.

What advice would you give high school players who dream of playing college football and/or the NFL? 

Whittingham: To make the first step from high school to college, the first thing to do is be a great student. Nothing can get you eliminated from recruiting consideration faster than bad grades. Once you have that, you need to become a complete student of the game. Study it, watch it, devour everything you can about it. Develop your relationship with your coaches; pick their brains about why you guys are running the plays you are running. Study your defensive or offensive scheme, and know everything there is to know about it. Not just your position but the 10 other positions around you, too. Then, of course, you need to develop your physical attributes. Take your diet seriously, follow your team’s training regimen, and attack everything in the weight room like you would attack it on the field. Get your rest and treat your body the right way. All of these tips would apply to both making the jump to college and also making the jump to the NFL. Know that in the evaluation process, everything you do is being looked at. Not just your ability and your knowledge, but your character, too.

How will your family watch the game? Will they be watching at home or will they be there in person?

Whittingham: I will be lucky enough to have my wife and daughter here in Arizona with me. My parents and two of my sisters and their families will be here, along with my in-laws. We will have quite the little crew out here. One of the proudest moments of my life (second only to holding my newborn daughter for the first time) was celebrating on the field after we won Super Bowl LIV with my loved ones, and I hope that I get to recreate a moment like that here at Super Bowl LVII.

(Photos courtesy of Alex Whittingham)
(Photos courtesy of Alex Whittingham)

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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