Kyle Whittingham could be ‘forced out’ at Utah, according to report
After 21 years with the school and the program’s best Pac-12 season, Whittingham could be nearing the end of his time in Salt Lake City.
Utah and longtime head coach Kyle Whittingham could part ways, according to FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman.
“Hearing situation between Whittingham and Utah AD is awful,” Feldman tweeted. “Staffers wouldn’t be surprised if [Whittingham] gets forced out and are hoping president steps in.”
The Utes recently lost offensive coordinator Dave Christensen to Texas A&M and two defensive assistants to Oregon State after winning nine games, the most the program had ever recorded in the Pac-12.
A Salt Lake Tribune report Friday said a “rift” had been growing between Whittingham and athletic director Chris Hill over assistant contracts. The two reportedly met after the three assistant coach departures. One Utah radio host tweeted it’s “highly unlikely” that Whittingham returns.
Since the move to the Pac-12, Utah’s results have been inconsistent. After an 8-5 season with a Sun Bowl win in 2011, the Utes missed bowl games with 5-7 records the next two years. This year, Utah went 9-4 with their first-ever winning record in Pac-12 play, earning a Las Vegas Bowl victory. Due in part to this season’s success, Whittingham was at one point a potential candidate for the vacant Michigan job.
A former BYU linebacker, Whittingham was a graduate assistant for the Cougars before moving on to lower division jobs with Eastern Utah and Idaho State. He first joined the Utah staff in 1994 as a defensive line coach, moving up to defensive coordinator the next year and replacing Urban Meyer as the head coach in 2005. While in the Mountain West, Utah made a bowl game every year under Whittingham, with three straight 10-win seasons capped by a 13-0 year in 2008.