Thursday, January 15, 2009
A successful college football coach is defined by many things. First and foremost winning, without winning you have no job. Secondly, commitment to the community and the university, with that comes security for both recruits and everyone associated with the University. Next, how well does he represent the values as the face of a university, with that comes the knowledge that one man can be a walking billboard for your university. There are several other ways a coach can be successful, but if you just look at the traits above, one man in 2009 stands above and beyond the competition. That man is Kyle Whittingham, the University of Utah Head Coach.
Kyle Whittingham lead the Utah Utes to an undefeated season with a Sugar Bowl victory over Nick Saban, the eventual winner of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. He brought a team unranked at the start of the season to the eventual #2 ranking. He was the lone coach in America who does not have to explain away a loss this year. On the field he did as good a job as any coach in the country.
In addition Kyle, is highly committed to the University of Utah. In 1994 Kyle was brought in by his father Fred, who had been the Utes Defensive Coordinator since 1992. The next season, when Fred left to coach for the Oakland Raiders, Kyle took over as DC and he has been in Salt Lake City ever since. Unlike Urban Meyer who parlayed his 2004 undefeated season into the head coaching position at Florida (2 national titles was probably a good decision), Kyle decided that Salt Lake City was him and on December 29th he signed a five year contract with the Utes. It's safe to say that Kyle is committed to being a Ute for the long haul.
Finally, Kyle Whittingham represents the University of Utah perfectly. Whittingham is a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, of which approximately 70% of the residents of Utah are. In addition he proudly boasts that 50% of his roster are also members of the Church. He helps lead these members of his team into positive missions and encourages them to make a difference.
For all these reasons Kyle Whittingham had a phenomenal 2008 and despite not winning the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, he'll surely be a candidate again next year.