Following a 10-3 season that saw Utah climb in the rankings and come closer to competing for a Pac-12 title, Utah has agreed to extend the contract of head coach Kyle Whittingham by two years. The newly extended contract for Whittingham now runs through the 2020 season, and Whittingham receives a nice raise as a result. Whittingham will be paid $3.3 million per year during the course of the contract.
“We are excited about the contract extension for Coach Whittingham and look forward to continued success in the Pac-12 Conference under his leadership,” Utah director of athletics Dr. Chris Hill said in a released statement.“
“I am grateful for the support and commitment shown by Chris Hill and President Pershing with this contract extension. It gives further stability to our football program and what we are trying to accomplish,” said Whittingham. “We are excited about the future here at Utah and the recruiting class we will sign next Wednesday.”
Just as noted in an earlier story today about Notre Dame extending the contract of Brian Kelly, the timing of this announcement is pretty perfect. It gives Whittingham some extra job security he can show to recruits still mulling a decision to play for Utah for the next four years.
Based on 2015 coaching salaries, Utah will now make Whittingham the Pac-12’s third highest-paid coach in the conference, trailing Washington’s Chris Petersen ($3.4 million) and UCLA’s Jim Mora ($3.35 million). That standing could quickly change at any time though depending on what other schools do with their salaries. For the sake of comparison, Stanford’s David Shaw is among the lowest-paid coaches in the Pac-12, earning $2.2 million per year, third lowest in the conference according to 2015 salaries despite winning three Pac-12 championships over the last five years. It should also be noted USC does not disclose their salary info, although it should be expected Clay Helton is not getting paid as lucrativly as the other coaches with a longer track record as a head coach.
Whittingham is second in Utah history for coaching victories with 94, trailing only Ike Armstrong’s 141 wins from 1925 through 1949. He has coached Utah to a record of 94-46, which includes a strong 8-1 bowl record and four top 25 finishes. Whittingham has also guided the program through a successful move from the Mountain West Conference into the Pac-12, and has shown the ability to build a team that can win in the new power conference home of the program. Utah got off to a strong start last season and climbed the polls to as high as No. 3 in the AP poll, but the Utes hit a wall down the stretch and lost some key Pac-12 games to prevent them from competing for the Pac-12 championship. The improvement in a division thought to be loaded with competition did not fly under the radar.