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Utah football signs Kyle Whittingham to contract extension

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NCAA Football: Pac-12 Conference Championship-Utah vs Washington Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The most tenured coach in the Pac-12 just got a contract extension after winning the Pac-12 South in 2018. Kyle Whittingham has signed until 2023 with the Utes after the news of his newest extension this afternoon. After winning the Pac-12 South this past season, it is not a big surprise that Whitt got an extension this off season. I’d wager if he won the Pac-12 this next season, he’d be up for another extension. The official details of the deal haven’t been made public yet (at least that I can see), so it will be interesting to see where Whitt sits salary wise, and what other fine details are in this newest contract.

A move like this, in the unsure world of college football, always helps the program to show that it’s committed to the head coach and his staff, creating stability for potential recruits going forward. Whitt keeps pushing the program forward, on and off the field, and this helps reward him for that.

The Utes went 9-5 this last season, losing in the Pac-12 title game 10-3, and seemed to get over the hump on offense, to go along with a potent defense. Things looked dicey in early November when Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss missed the last four regular season games. The Utes also lost Britain Covey to open the second half of the conference title game. To navigate a difficult schedule, absorb some key injuries, and be a fluke play from a potential Rose Bowl, Coach Whitt and key did a great job this last season.

Now the stakes get higher, as fans, players and coaches now turn their eye to roses.

Here’s the official release from the SID at the U:

SALT LAKE CITY—Football coach Kyle Whittingham, who led Utah to a Pac-12 South Division title and a berth in the 2018 Pac-12 Championship game, has signed a contract extension through December of 2023, Director of Athletics Mark Harlan announced today.

”Coach Whittingham is one of the top coaches in college football and extending his contract was a high priority in my first year here,” said Harlan. “Kyle’s teams compete for championships on the field and in the classroom, and his loyalty to the University of Utah has made this a great partnership.”

Whittingham, the longest-tenured head coach in the Pac-12 and the third-longest tenured coach at the same school in the NCAA FBS, is preparing for his 15th season at the helm at Utah, where he boasts a 120-61 record. His 84.6% success rate in bowl games (11-2) ranks second in NCAA history and his 11 wins is tied for second among active coaches.

”On behalf of our entire coaching staff, we are grateful to both Mark Harlan and President Ruth Watkins for this vote of confidence in our football program,” said Whittingham. “The University’s support is critical to our long-term success and this sends a positive message to our recruits, which are the lifeblood of any program.”

Whittingham’s teams have also achieved unprecedented success academically. Utah boasted the best NCAA Graduation Success rate of the Pac-12 football programs in the latest report and the 2018 Utes set a new school mark for fall semester GPA with a 2.925 cumulative average.

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.

The Utes appeared in every weekly College Football Playoff ranking in the first three years of the system (2014-16) and have finished in the CFP top-25 four times. In 2008, the 13-0 Utes finished No. 2 in the AP poll—one of five appearances in the final AP rankings under Whittingham.

He has enjoyed great success against Power Five conferences, producing winning records against the ACC (7-1), Big Ten (4-1), Big 12 (5-3) and SEC (1-0). The Utes have also fared well in eight years in the Pac-12, winning or sharing two Pac-12 South Division titles and registering wins against every school.

Utah opens its 15th spring camp under Whittingham today. Spring practices and scrimmages are open to the public.