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Former Foothill basketball player Brock Whaley dies in motorcycle accident

Brock Whaley, center, was a standout center for the Foothill basketball team, graduating in 2011. The 6-foot-9 Whaley, a firefighter with Cal Fire, died Thursday in a motorcycle accident on Hartnell Avenue. He was 26. (Photo by Ed Fisher / Courtesy of MaxPreps)

The Foothill High School and Cal Fire communities were reeling Friday after learning Brock Whaley had died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident Thursday on Hartnell Avenue.

Whaley, 26, was a basketball player for the Cougars and had been a firefighter for Cal Fire for just over one year, working in the agency’s Shasta-Trinity unit since May 2018.

“We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Firefighter Brock Whaley,” said Cheryl Buliavac, a spokeswoman with Cal Fire in Redding, in a statement. Whaley worked at the Fawn Lodge Forest fire station 61, Buliavac said.

Ryan Schmitz, a teammate at Foothill who also works for Cal Fire, said Friday afternoon that he and Whaley’s friends and teammates were shocked to hear the news.

“No one expects this kind of thing at such a young age,” Schmitz said. “As a 26 year old, you feel like you’ve got such a long time.”

Schmitz remembered a great player, teammate and person in Whaley.

“It seems super-cliche, but he really was a great guy,” Schmitz said.

The 6-foot-9 Whaley played basketball for Foothill until his 2011 graduation. The Cougars won the Northern Section Division III title his senior year, beating Paradise 54-45 before making the first of the many Foothill runs in the state playoffs.

Whaley averaged 9.1 points per game in his senior season as the Cougars advanced to the second round of the Northern California Division III playoffs that year. Foothill beat Analy at home 79-59 before falling on the road 66-62 to Sac High. He scored 23 in the Analy win.

Though Whaley was 6-8 in high school, he was thin for his height, but Schmitz said that didn’t reflect in his post play for the Cougars.

“His size didn’t determine just how strong of a player he was,” Schmitz said.

Whaley’s friend recalled a game against Sac High where Whaley, charged with guarding a 7-foot post, held the player to 20 points.

“He had a big heart and played that monster of a kid tough,” Schmitz said.

Brocky Whaley helped induct his mother, Sheree, into the Shasta College athletics Hall of Fame last weekend along with his sister Shelby and father Brent. Sheree Whaley died June 10, 2018 after a battle with breast cancer. She was inducted to the college’s Hall of Fame as a supporter of athletics after serving as the Admissions and Records Director/Technician II, with a career that spanned 41 years.

Prior to her 2017 retirement, Sheree assisted new students entering college and saw them through to graduation and beyond.

Brock Whaley died Thursday from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident on Hartnell Avenue. He was 26. The former Foothill basketball player graduated in 2011 and was working for Cal Fire. (Photo by Ed Fisher / Courtesy of MaxPreps)

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. Williams has coached various sports at the high school level over the past decade, most recently at Shasta High, and is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.


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