In the middle of a 25-minute phone interview, Timpanogos boys basketball coach Israel Ingle apologized.
“I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to anybody lately so I’m probably talking your ear off,” he said. “I’m looking a little wild right now. I’m like Ron Burgundy when he’s in a glass case of emotion.”
Yeah, milk was a bad choice.
Quoting movies and trying to figure out how to keep a team together while making sure they are practicing social distancing is the new normal for high school coaches around the state during the coronavirus crisis.
The Timberwolves’ season ended on Feb. 21 in the second round of the Class 5A Tournament with a 47-44 upset loss to Murray. Following a moratorium at the end of the tournament Ingle was looking forward to getting his 2020-21 team started with open gyms, spring tournaments and weights.
“We’re just doing our individual workouts and planning tournaments, getting ready for next year,” he said. “We can’t do anything with the players and its driving me crazy.”
Ingle’s biggest regret is that his seven seniors don’t get a big sendoff.
“It breaks my heart that we can have an end-of-the-season banquet,” he said. “With our seniors we do a video, give them a plaque and celebrate the season. They don’t get their closure and neither do their parents. They’ve made a million sacrifices throughout the years, from early morning open gyms and practices to long road trips.”
Ingle also feels for his fellow coaches at Timpanogos whose spring sports have been postponed.
“I was just talking to my wife about it, it’s heartbreaking for baseball and softball and other spring sports. They only played three or four games. It’s tough because there is so much uncertainty. Are they going to play later? How do they stay in game shape?”
Just like any offseason, Ingle and his coaching staff have come up with an offseason workout routine for the players, with the added instruction to stay healthy and safe.
“They are to practice four to six days a week,” Ingle said. “They do ball handling for 20 minutes, passing for ten minutes and then they shoot 300 3-pointers and 100 free throws. We give them homework and try to hold the accountable for it. But it’s been terrible weather and kids haven’t been able to go outside and shoot.”
Ingle teaches health at Timpanogos and has made the transition to online classes.
“Our principal saw it coming,” Ingle said. “All of my stuff is online and it’s awesome. We spent three days in groups training on how to get our courses online before everything got shut down. I go to school a couple of days a week to get caught up on grading and things.
“I think a lot of people are realizing how important teachers are. I have three children that are taking online school. I’m teaching classes online and moving from iPad to laptop and back. It’s an adjustment. What’s great is I get to spend so much time with my family.”
Ingle’s father, former BYU coach Tony Ingle, moved back to Utah from Georgia just as the coronavirus began to change everyone’s lives.
“It’s great seeing my parents so much,” Israel Ingle said. “They were all excited to move back and then the whole world shuts down.”
Recruiting is a very different experience right now for Ingle and his players. Jackson Holcolmbe is a 6-foot-6 junior combo guard who averaged 15 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
“It’s so tough for everyone,” Ingle said. “Jackson was second team All-State and first team All-Region. He’s one of the best players coming back next year. Usually at this time of year coaches are reaching out and they can see him play in AAU ball. They want him to come to unofficial visits and workouts but obviously he can’t do anything. Coaches that are interested still stay in touch. I told Jackson it was a great opportunity to go pull up Hudl and work on his highlight tape.”
Ingle doesn’t have his team camp to run this spring, but he already knows something he’s adding next year.
“I’m going to order 100 rubber basketballs,” he said. “I used to love to go outside and shoot. I loved the sound of the ball going through the chain nets when you swish it. I’ll give the kids at the camp the rubber basketballs so they have something to go outside and play with.”