SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 4, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham, who has guided the Utes to back-to-back Pac-12 South championships, has signed a contract extension through December of 2027, director of athletics Mark Harlan announced Wednesday.
The agreement extends his current contract by four years.
“Kyle Whittingham has established a culture in the Utah Football program that not only achieves success on the field, but also in the classroom, the community and in the development of student-athletes for their future beyond their time on campus,” Harlan said in a prepared statement.
“This has been especially evident throughout the pandemic, as he has steadily demonstrated leadership, patience and flexibility, putting the priority of health and well-being for student-athletes above all else.”
Whittingham, beginning his 16th season as Utah’s head coach and 27th season on the Utes’ football staff, is the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 Conference and the third-longest tenured head coach at the same school in the NCAA FBS, the statement says. The 2019 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year ranks second in school history in wins with a career record of 131-64. In his 26 years at Utah he has contributed to more victories (216) than any coach in program history.
“We want to thank our Athletics Director Mark Harlan and our President Ruth Watkins for their unwavering support of our coaching staff and for their commitment to our football program,” said Whittingham. “This vote of confidence makes it very clear to recruits that our program has the full backing of our university, which is vital to our long-term success.”
Whittingham’s teams continue to set the bar high academically, ranking No. 1 in the Pac-12 in Graduation Success Rate (GSR) at 93% and earning a 2019 Academic Achievement Award from the American Football Coaches Association for recording a perfect 100% single-year graduation success rate. The Utah Football program also received a Public Recognition Award for 2019-20 for recording an Academic Progress Rate (991) in the Top 10% nationally.
The U also provided the following information on Whittingham and his team:
Under Whittingham’s leadership, the Utes appeared in every weekly College Football Playoff ranking for the first three years of the system (2014-16) and have made the sixth-most overall appearances of any FBS school with 30. Utah has finished in the CFP top-25 in five seasons (No. 22 in 2014 and 2015, No. 19 in 2016, No. 17 in 2018 and No. 11 in 2019) and has made the final AP top-25 six times (No. 2 in 2008, No. 18 in 2009, No. 21 in 2014, No. 17 in 2015, No. 23 in 2016 and No. 16 in 2019).
In addition to his 2019 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year award, Whittingham was named National Coach of the Year by the AFCA and the Bear Bryant Award in 2008 when undefeated Utah finished No. 2 in the AP poll. With 11 bowl wins (11-3) he is tied for second among active coaches and ranks in the top-10 all-time (including ties). His glossy bowl record includes a 2-0 mark in College Football Playoff New Year’s Six bowls, with wins over Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl as co-head coach and Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
Whittingham came to Utah in 1994 as the defensive line coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator the next year. On December 8, 2004, he became the school’s 20th head coach. His first victory came three weeks later when he co-coached (with Urban Meyer) the 2005 Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh.
Utah begins Whittingham’s 16th season as head coach this Saturday against Arizona at Rice-Eccles Stadium.