PROVO — Whenever he’s asked about his team’s success, Timpview head coach Cary Whittingham is always quick to mention his assistant coaches. Chief among those assistants — and likely chief among all assistants statewide — is offensive coordinator Chad Van Orden.
Van Orden is currently in his 23rd year of coaching at Timpview and is as responsible as anyone for the program’s overwhelming success during the past decade.
“He’s something special and the ability he has to run the offense like he does is just incredible,“ Whittingham said. “He’s second to none in my mind as far as coaches go, and I’m very fortunate that he decided to coach with me this year and this team would not be where it’s at without him.”
Van Orden almost didn’t come back this season. After last season he put in his retirement papers with the state — suspending his ability to get paid for one full year — but after some cajoling he decided to stay at Timpview for at least one more year as an unpaid assistant.
“This may be my last year simply because I need to get a job and my wife is probably sick of me doing all this without getting paid,” Van Orden joked. “I’ve been driving from South Jordan every day like I have for 23 years, but I love doing it — I just love to coach.”
Van Orden preceded both Whittingham and Louis Wong as the head coach at Timpview — winning three state titles before stepping away after the 2004 season. He didn’t step away entirely, however, remaining as the team’s offensive coordinator.
“Coaching is the best job in the entire world, but the other things that come with being a head coach — I just grew tired of it,” Van Orden said. “All the equipment management, the fundraisers and everything else — I just made the decision to do just what I love to do and that is to be just a coach without all the other stuff.”
Wong took over the head-coaching responsibilities and focused on the defense while the offense was left to Van Orden. Together they coached Timpview to four straight state titles between 2006-2009 before Wong was forced to leave after the 2011 season due to book-keeping improprieties as judged by the UHSAA.
“Louis did so much for this program and for all the kids he coached. It’s a shame that it ended like it did,” Van Orden said. “He did things for this program and I don’t know that I could have as a head coach and I hope he’s remembered for all the good he did for this community and for his players.”
Under coach Whittingham, it’s been largely the same routine as it was under Wong — Whittingham coaches the defense and deals with all the off-the-field stuff while the offense is entirely Van Orden’s responsibility.
With that responsibility Van Orden has developed the type of offensive system that would rival a lot of junior-college systems. The offense depends on option routes and a lot of line checks by the quarterback, but also features a lot of balance with the running game.
“Balance is the key and it’s certainly the key for this year’s offense, which I think is easily one of the best offenses I’ve coached while I’ve been here,” Van Orden said. “All of the credit goes to the kids like it does every year. The kids we have here are just so smart and so hard-working — a lot of people have the impression that Timpview doesn’t work hard and is just so talented. But if people knew how these kids work and the dedication they have to what we’re doing — it’s just all about the kids.”
This will likely be the last season Van Orden coaches at Timpview, and he admits it will be very hard to step away after all he’s been through over the last 23 years.
“It’s been such a pleasure for me to be able to coach the great kids that this community brings up every year. I can’t say enough about this school and all the great coaches I’ve been able to work with,” Van Orden said. “We have one more game and hopefully we’re able to win that game and then it might be time to step away and I believe when and if that time comes that it’s going to be tougher than I even think it will.”
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BrandonCGurney