BYU senior guard Tyler Haws was nearing the all-time scoring record. Junior guard Kyle Collinsworth hoped to match Shaq’s record of triple-doubles. Seniors Halford, Haws, Sharp and Winder were recognized for their years of hard work, efforts and dedication to BYU basketball. The affectionately named “ROC” section of the Marriott Center was filled to the uppermost corners. But where was President Kevin J Worthen?
It has become a unique tradition of BYU students to, when a BYU player makes a free throw, point at the University’s president for an enthusiastic “WHOOSH!” This started with President Cecil O. Samuelson — who, if I may make a personal note, holds a dear place in my heart for his dedication to and love for BYU basketball — thus inspiring both the phrase “Whoosh Cecil!” and the subsequently named BYU Creamery ice cream. When President Worthen took the mantle, the tradition transitioned to his name — thus setting the precedent that all future Presidents of BYU will very likely be granted not only this privilege, but the duty of being at the game to reciprocate the crowd’s “WHOOSH” with a thumbs up (as Cecil would do).
But where has he been? I understand (probably not fully, but in theory) that a university president has a busy schedule. Did not President Samuelson also maintain a busy schedule? I submit that he did, yet he managed to come support the great BYU basketball program and spend time with the largest gathering of BYU students in a given week.
Now, these thoughts may seem harsh, and it may appear as if I am calling out President Worthen. I am not. I have neither the power or authority to do so, and I love our president and support him fully. I simply wish to convey how disheartening it is as a spectator to throw up my hand in the sign of the “Y” then let out an enthusiastic “WHOOSH,” only to point at a cut-out of President Worthen’s face held by someone I do not know. It’s not genuine. It’s not him.
Wherever he may be on these given Thursday and Saturday nights, I would like my beloved president back at the games. And given the various “where’s President Worthen?” comments I heard around me, I believe most students would concur.