Whitney Bower never had a doubt about where she wanted to play college volleyball.
So when BYU coach Heather Olmstead called her Tuesday to offer her a scholarship, the Skyview High freshman setter didn’t hesitate.
“I just took it on the spot,” Bower said.
Bower is the second oldest of Danny and Caroline Bower’s seven daughters, and in the fall of 2020, she’ll be a third generation Cougar.
Danny, a 1993 Caldwell High graduate, played men’s basketball at BYU (97-99), while Caroline (Steuer) was an outside hitter for the Cougars (1995-2000), making four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Wayne Bower, Whitney’s grandfather, was a standout football and track athlete at BYU in the 1970s.
“BYU has definitely been my dream school since I was little,” Whitney said.
In each of the past five seasons, the Cougars have finished the season ranked no lower than 13th nationally.
BYU wrapped up the 2016 season with a No. 8 ranking, a 29-4 overall record, a third straight West Coast Conference title and a fifth consecutive trip to the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
“I want to play for a team that I know can win a national championship,” Whitney said. “I know that I would be able to do that at BYU. They have a great shot at doing it, and they’re a very competitive team. I’d really like to play on a team like that.”
With Whitney already garnering Division I attention as a freshman — including a recent full-ride offer from Michigan — the Cougars swooped in and made her the first commitment of their 2020 class.
While it might seem like a premature offer, the Cougars saw the potential in the 5-foot-9 lefty.
“They just told me, ‘Keep your head in the game and don’t lose track of what your goal is,’” Whitney said.
In her first varsity season, Whitney helped the Hawks win the program’s first state championship, finishing 40-3 overall.
“Whitney is a flat out winner,” Skyview coach Kevin Murphy said. “She’ll play as hard in an open gym as she will in a practice as she will in a state title match or a national title match. She just wins. She competes and makes everybody around her better with her skill set, with her determination and her competitiveness.”
Whitney’s time on the court isn’t limited to the fall high school season. She has played with the Idaho Crush club program since she was 9 on a team coached by her mom and former Northwest Nazarene head coach Deb Bradburn. Six of her club teammates have made Division I commitments.
“She’s one of the most intense players I think I have every coached, especially for her age,” Bradburn said. “She does not back down from any level of competition, in fact, she rises to that level of competition.”