Coach and quarterback duo keeps it in family

Spencer Whipple throws a pass late in the University of Miami-Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University. Alex Broadwell//The Miami Hurricane

Once most athletes get to a certain level at their sport, their parents stop coaching them and sit back to watch them play from the stands. But this is not the case for junior quarterback Spencer Whipple, who is playing for his father Mark Whipple, the offensive coordinator for the Hurricanes.

Throughout Spencer Whipple’s childhood he always played sports but was never pressured to play a specific sport by his father. Luckily for him though, he chose the sport his father had mastered.

“Growing up [my father coached me] but I was never pressured to play football or to be a quarterback, but he was willing to help me with anything I wanted to do,” Spencer Whipple said. “It just so happened to be football and so he would always tell me how I can improve my game.”

Playing college football at UM was not always the plan for Spencer Whipple despite the fact that he was a huge Hurricanes fan growing up.

He started out playing for Pittsburgh, who Miami plays Thursday, then went on to play at the University of Massachusetts. Spencer Whipple enjoyed playing at both Pitt and UMass but left both places yearning for a new opportunity.

“Pitt was right near my high school and where we lived,” Spencer Whipple recalled. “It went well and I liked how they ran the team but there were six or seven quarterbacks on the roster, so I transferred to UMass for more playing time. Then at UMass everything clicked well, but my dad moved down here and I have always loved Miami and [have] always been a fan. So I came down here and decided to help out the team and started out on scout team.”

Mark Whipple happens to coach the quarterbacks as well, the very position his son plays. There are many obstacles Spencer Whipple has had to overcome to prove to his teammates that he is not there playing because his father is the coach.

“You never know how the other teammates are gonna feel about having your dad as your coach. People are gonna think he is biased towards me, but he treats me just like Jacory [Harris], Alonzo [Highsmith] or Steven [Morris]. He doesn’t treat me any higher than the other players.”

Sophomore quarterback Highsmith respects the depth and his peers. “It definitely helps with the competition,” he said. “We never know who is the backup quarterback after Jacory. It keeps us all in suspense, makes us work harder every day.”

Spencer Whipple strives to be looked at as a regular player instead of the coach’s son.

“I have always gone about it the same way and try to work as hard as I can. I try and earn the respect through workouts, never miss a practice, always be on time and always be in the film room. If I prepare like that then everyone will see I am doing well and taking advantage of the opportunities I have.”

Michelle Salom may be contacted at