American Football Database
Kyle Whittingham
File:Whittingham at practice.jpg
Current position
TitleHead coach
Annual salary$2 million[1]
Biographical details
Born (1959-11-21) November 21, 1959 (age 62)
San Luis Obispo, California
Playing career
Denver Gold
New Orleans Breakers
Los Angeles Rams
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Eastern Utah (DC)
Idaho State (LB/ST)
Idaho State (DC)
Utah (DL)
Utah (DC/DL)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
1 MWC (2008)
WAC Defensive Player of the Year (1981)[2]
AFCA Coach of the Year (2008)
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award (2008)
MWC Coach of the Year (2008)

Kyle Whittingham (born November 21, 1959) is the head football coach of the University of Utah Utes. Prior to becoming the head coach at Utah, Whittingham served as Utah's defensive coordinator for ten seasons. He was named head coach of Utah after Urban Meyer left for the Florida Gators in 2004. He won AFCA Coach of the Year and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award in 2008.

Playing career

Whittingham played linebacker for the BYU Cougars from 1978 to 1981. In 1981 he earned first-team all-WAC and WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.[2] Whittingham was also named the defensive MVP of the 1981 Holiday Bowl. He played in all of the first four Holiday Bowls. In his first appearance, he played as a running back and the other three as a linebacker, during which he recorded 27 tackles. In 2009, he was inducted into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame.[3]

He graduated from BYU in 1981 and went on to play linebacker for the Denver Gold and New Orleans Breakers of the USFL and the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams' replacement squad in 1987.[2]

Coaching career

Early coaching career

Whittingham became a graduate assistant for BYU during the 1985 and 1986 seasons. In 1987, Whittingham was named defensive coordinator at the College of Eastern Utah. He coached there for a season before taking a job at Idaho State. After two seasons with Idaho State, Whittingham joined the Utah staff as defensive line coach, working alongside his father, Fred Whittingham. In the 1995 season, Whittingham replaced his father as the defensive coordinator, serving under both Ron McBride and Meyer until being named head coach in 2004.

Head coaching career

The 2004 season ended with Utah becoming the first non-BCS conference team to make a BCS bowl game, the Fiesta Bowl. After winning the Fiesta Bowl, the Utes' overall record improved to 12–0. After the 2004 season, the Utes lost junior starting quarterback Alex Smith to the NFL and head coach Urban Meyer who left to the University of Florida. After the regular season, and before the Fiesta Bowl, Whittingham was offered the head coaching job at Utah and also the head coaching job at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. After struggling with the decision for four days he chose the Utes.[4] Because Urban Meyer had already officially accepted the head coaching job at Florida before the Fiesta Bowl, Kyle and Urban acted as co-head coaches of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. The NCAA credits both Meyer and Whittingham with a win in their win totals.[5]


Whittingham's first season was an up and down ride for Utah as the team not only adjusted to a new coaching staff, including Andy Ludwig, but also a new offense led by quarterback Brian Johnson. Utah struggled early on, going 3–4 in their first 7 games, however, a strong finish gave Utah their third straight bowl invite.

In the 2005 Emerald Bowl the Utes faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Utah beat Georgia Tech 38–10, the Yellow Jackets' worst bowl loss by point margin in school history. Whittingham finished his first year at Utah with a 7–5 record.


In 2006, Whittingham's team faced a degree of adversity. Starting quarterback Brett Ratliff struggled through parts of the year, and so did the Utes. Like the year before, the Utes rebounded toward the end of the season, but lost to rival BYU at home by a score of 33–31. The Utes became bowl eligible for the fourth straight year, a school record. Whittingham led the Utes to a 25–13 victory over the University of Tulsa in the 2006 Armed Forces Bowl, running his record to 15–10 (.600) with Utah.


2007 would provide more adversity. In Johnson's first start since 2005, he broke his collarbone against Oregon State and starting running back Matt Asiata broke his leg as Utah got routed 24–7 by the Beavers. The following week, wide receiver Brent Casteel was lost for the season in an embarrassing 20–12 loss at home to Air Force.

Utah looked as if it righted the ship the following week with a 44–6 rout of No. 9 UCLA, the highest-ranked team ever defeated by the Utes. But the following week represented the worst week of Whittingham's head coaching career—a 27–0 loss to perennial cellar-dweller UNLV that had many wondering if Whittingham could survive as a head coach at Utah.

But like past seasons, the Utes regrouped and won seven consecutive games, using a stingy, big-play defense and the sledgehammer running attack of Darrell Mack (253 carries, 1,204 yards and 16 total touchdowns), who had been scheduled to redshirt in what was going to be his junior season. The Utes 50–0 drubbing of Wyoming proved controversial. Up 43–0 in the second half, Whittingham decided to go for an onside kick. An emotional Joe Glenn was caught on camera giving Whittingham the bird after the play. In the season finale, Utah suffered its second consecutive loss to rival BYU to end the regular season, 17–10.

Whittingham and Utah overcame that disappointment to beat Navy, 35–32, in the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl. It marked the Utes' seventh consecutive bowl victory, which placed them second to Boston College in longest active bowl winning streaks.


In 2008, Utah completed an undefeated regular season and qualified for a BCS Bowl. Utah defeated Alabama, 31–17, in the 2009 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana.[6] Along the way were wins at Michigan, late come-from-behind wins over Oregon State and TCU, and a convincing victory over rival BYU. Overall, Utah finished the regular season holding wins over three teams in the final AP Top 25.

The American Football Coaches Association selected Utah coach Kyle Whittingham as the 2008 AFCA National Coach of the Year Award.[7] The announcement was made at the football coaches' convention, which Whittingham attended. The AFCA award is the oldest national coach of the year award, dating back to 1935, and is the only one chosen exclusively by the coaches.

He also won the 2008 Paul "Bear" Bryant Award.[7]


In 2009, Utah had its second consecutive 10-win season. They finished with a 10–3 (6–2 MWC) record and a 37–27 win over California in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl.[8] Whittingham helped the Utes reach these benchmarks with two new coordinators: Dave Schramm as the offensive coordinator and Kalani Sitake as the defensive coordinator. Utah's three losses came against teams that finished the season ranked: Oregon, TCU, and BYU who finished the season ranked No. 11, 6, and 12 in the AP Poll, respectively. Utah finished ranked No. 18 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll.[9]


Kyle Whittingham turned down the head coaching position at Tennessee early in 2010.[10]

Utah started the 2010 season with an upset of then-15th ranked Pittsburgh. The Utes then managed the third 8–0 start in program history, rising to fifth in the BCS rankings. However, during a 68–27 victory over Iowa State, Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn injured his arm and though he continued to play, the injury impacted the remainder of the season. After that 8–0 start, the Utes stumbled badly at home against the TCU Horned Frogs, lost a sloppy contest to Notre Dame and then bounced back to end the regular season with victories over San Diego State and rival Brigham Young University.

Due to the injury, Wynn, who finished the regular season in spite of his injury, missed the Las Vegas Bowl – a 26–3 loss to the Boise State Broncos. It was the program's first bowl loss since the 1996 Copper Bowl and snapped a 9-game bowl winning streak, which was, at the time, the longest active streak in college football.

The Utes finished the 2010 campaign 10–3 and 23rd in the nation. It marked the first time in program history that Utah produced three consecutive ten-win seasons.


In its inaugural season in the Pac-12 Conference, Utah finished with an 8–5 record (4–5 Pac-12).

Personal life

Whittingham was born on November 21, 1959 in San Luis Obispo, California. His father, Fred Whittingham, played linebacker in the NFL for nine years and then coached at the college and the pro level for almost twenty years.

Whittingham graduated from BYU with a bachelor's degree in educational psychology in 1982. In 1983, he married the former Jamie Daniels. Whittingham then earned a master's degree in professional leadership in 1986.[4] Whittingham and his wife now have four children: Tyler, Melissa, Alex and Kylie.

Whittingham is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[11]


In 2008, Whittingham and former Utah head coach Urban Meyer were the first people to donate money to the Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin Family Scholarship, an endowed scholarship which will benefit the football program.[12][13]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Utah Utes (Mountain West Conference) (2005–2010)
2004 Utah* 1–0 0–0 W Fiesta 5 4
2005 Utah 7–5 4–4 T–4th W Emerald
2006 Utah 8–5 5–3 T–3rd W Armed Forces
2007 Utah 9–4 5–3 T–3rd W Poinsettia
2008 Utah 13–0 8–0 1st W Sugar 4 2
2009 Utah 10–3 6–2 3rd W Poinsettia 18 18
2010 Utah 10–3 7–1 2nd L Las Vegas 23
Utah Utes (Pac-12 Conference) (2011–Present)
2011 Utah 8–5 4–5 T–3rd (South) W Sun
2012 Utah 5–7 3–6 5th (South)
Utah: 71–32 42–24 * Was Co-head coach with Urban Meyer of the Fiesta Bowl [5]
Total: 71–32
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. "Penn State Coaching Search: Kyle Whittingham Gets Raise, Extension At Utah". SB Nation. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Player Bio: Kyle Whittingham". University of Utah. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  3. "Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Adds Three to Bowl Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2010-03-27.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Doug Robinson (02/14/09). "Kyle Whittingham: In Control". Deseret News.,5143,705285279,00.html?pg=1. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Coaching Records Game by game Urban Meyer & Kyle Whittingham: 2004". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
  6. "Utah secures perfect season with Sugar Bowl win over Alabama". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Whittingham wins Bryant Award". ESPN. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  8. "Kyle Whittingham Records by Year: 2009". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  9. "2009 NCAA Football Rankings – Postseason". Retrieved 2010-02-13.
  10. Dirk Facer. "Utah Utes football: Whittingham declines to Volunteer". Deseret News. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  11. Dan Wetzel. "Whittingham’s Ute movement". Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  12. "U. Athletics Establishes Joseph B. Wirthlin Scholarship". University of Utah. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  13. Lee Benson. "Elder Wirthlin's goodness now a legacy at U.". Deseret News.,5143,705277921,00.html?pg=1. Retrieved 2009-07-07.

External links

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