Post season accolades continued to roll in for the Utah football program, as Kyle Whittingham was named the winner of the 2019 Dodd Trophy, which honors the head coach whose program embodies the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, while also having success on the playing field throughout the season. This is a very cool award to win, and something both Coach Whitt, players, fellow coaches, the program and fans should be proud of.
Coach Whitt led Utah to the 11-2 record this season, a win away from a potential College Football Playoff berth, a Pac-12 South title for the second straight year, and an appearance in the Alamo Bowl. Eight of his players earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors, including Offensive Player of the Year Zack Moss. Bradlee Anae was the defensive winner of the Morris Trophy and Anae, Moss, Julian Blackmon, Leki Fotu and Jaylon Johnson all earned All-America honors from one of the five major teams. That’s just one pillar of his success, where as per the official press release, here are the others he can hang his hat on:
Utah has also excelled academically under Whittingham. Since he became head coach in 2005, his players have earned four Academic All-America citations and 269 academic all-conference awards. Utah football received public recognition from the NCAA for posting a multi-year Academic Progress Report (APR) in the top 10 percent of all athletic teams in the country from 2014-19, including a perfect single-year APR score of 1000 in 2017-18. The American Football Coaches Association gave Utah a 2017 Academic Achievement Award for recording a perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR).
Whittingham has been instrumental in the creation of the Ute Academy – a resource center for current and former student-athletes that prioritizes personal and professional development. He and former Utah head coach Urban Meyer were the first to donate to the Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin Family Scholarship in 2008, which was created to benefit the opportunities of football student-athletes. Whittingham is also a regular in the ‘Rivalry for Charity’ annual golf tournament that benefits the National Kidney Foundation.
It’s nice to see our guy get some hardware for his accomplishments, including the Pac-12 Coach of the Year award for this season. Now he has to rally his team from a disappointing game almost a month ago to take on a very talented Texas team in their own backyard. It will require a lot from the coaches to keep these guys focused after that disappointment, as we are now just days away from the game.