Utah and Kyle Whittingham seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly at this point, and the combo will continue to be tied at the hip for at least a few more years to come. On Friday, Utah announced the school had reached an agreement on a contract extension with the football coach through 2021.
And why wouldn’t Utah want to keep Whittingham happy in Salt Lake City? Whittingham has successfully guided Utah through a transition into a power conference from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12 and has come close to guiding the Utes to the Pac-12 championship game but have yet to reach that point. He has been the head coach of the program for 12 years, succeeding former Utah coach Urban Meyer when Meyer accepted a job offer from Florida (of course, Meyer is currently Ohio State’s head coach). Whittingham, a BYU alum, was offered the BYU job at the same time he was offered the job at Utah following Meyer’s departure.
Under Whittingham as head coach, Utah is an impressive 10-1 in postseason bowl games and 104-50 overall/ Whittingham has been a part of the Utah football program since 1994 as a defensive line coach and has established a solid track record of having Utah play some of the toughest defense in the Pac-12. Utah also won a Mountain West Conference championship in 2008 under Whittingham, when the Utes went 13-0 and won the Sugar Bowl and finished second in the nation in the final AP poll (fourth in the coaches poll).
Who knows how things may have changed over the years had Whittingham returned to Provo, Utah to coach the Cougars, who are now a football independent and on their second coach since Whittingham turned them down (Bronco Mendenhall took the BYU job after being an assistant coach with the program, and he now coaches at Virginia; BYU’s head coach is currently Kalani Sitake).