Preston Pedersen, M.S.Ed., CSCS

In 2016 Preston Pedersen started teaching and coaching at Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, IA. A certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Pedersen oversees and implements all strength and speed training and also coaches varsity football (LB & WR). 

Preston is the Professional Learning Community leader for Health & Physical Education at Mount Vernon High School and serves on the District Leadership Team. The courses that he instructs include: Mustang Strength & Speed PE, Fundamentals of Athletic Performance, and Sophomore Health. He also has the opportunity to serve as the high school’s FCA huddle leader.  

Pedersen is a member of the National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA) and was honored as Iowa's 2020 NHSSCA State Coach of the Year. He has served as the NHSSCA's Iowa State Director since 2021. In 2022 he received the Character Counts Coach of the Year Award for the state of Iowa. He is also a Co-Founder of the Iowa Strength Coaches Association (ISCA) an organization dedicated to pouring into Iowa strength coaches. ​​Pedersen is a co-host on the Big Time Strength Podcast that highlights coaches around the nation that are making the “big time” where they are at. Pedersen is the owner of Pursuit Performance, a physical education curriculum company that helps PE teachers and strength coaches pursue their best. 

Pedersen received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwest Missouri State University (Maryville, MO) where he studied Health & Physical Education and played football for the Bearcats. While playing football, Pedersen interned for the strength and conditioning department. Upon graduation, Pedersen accepted a Strength & Conditioning graduate assistantship and was the head strength coach for Bearcat Baseball, Men's Tennis, and Women's Tennis while also assisting all other Bearcat teams.

Coach Pedersen and his wife, Emily, have two boys, Jayce and Nash.

PURPOSE STATEMENT: To empower students and coaches to pursue excellence, lead with courage, and positively impact the world.





Ryan Whitman

Coach Whitman is in his 13th year at Mount Vernon.  The last 12 years at Mount Vernon he has taught special education classes and helped teach Mustang Strength and Speed classes the last 2 years.  Coach Whitman is overseeing a change in how Lifetime Fitness is taught at the high school by implementing more fitness activities while also maintaining the game activities that have been done throughout the years.  He has 14 years of teaching experience.  Coach Whitman currently is the Head Boys Track coach and has been for the past 10 years.

Before coming to Mount Vernon, Coach Whitman taught 6th grade for 1 year at Sioux Central Community schools where he also was a Varsity Football assistant and 7th grade basketball coach.

Coach Whitman graduated from Mount Vernon in 2003 and Wartburg College in 2007 (B.A. in Elementary Education with Science endorsement).  He has accrued a number of endorsements throughout his years teaching (5-12 Special Education through Morningside, 5-12 Health through UNI, and 5-12 P.E. through a number of schools) while also getting his Masters of Arts in Teaching in 2010 from Morningside College.

Coach Whitman and his wife Tasha have two daughters, Adalynn and Mia.

PURPOSE STATEMENT: To empower athletes to come together through love and unity to achieve on and off the field as a family.