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Kyle Whittingham  

Joining the Pac-12 Conference is the latest challenge for Utah's seventh-year head football coach Kyle Whittingham.

Joining the Pac-12 Conference is the latest challenge for Utah's seventh-year head football coach Kyle Whittingham, and if history holds true, he will approach it as yet another opportunity. His first test came when he accepted the head job at Utah on the heels of the best season in school history. He passed that in flying colors by leading Utah to new heights in 2008, when the Utes went 13-0 and won the Sugar Bowl.

Joining the Pac-12 Conference is the latest challenge for Utah's seventh-year head football coach Kyle Whittingham, and if history holds true, he will approach it as yet another opportunity. His first test came when he accepted the head job at Utah on the heels of the best season in school history. He passed that in flying colors by leading Utah to new heights in 2008, when the Utes went 13-0 and won the Sugar Bowl.

A member of Utah's staff since 1994, Whittingham has compiled a 58-20 record in six years as the head coach and has a 6-1 bowl record. His 2-0 record in BCS bowl games includes a win as co-head coach of Utah's Fiesta Bowl team in 2004 (as recognized by the NCAA).

Whittingham already owns half of the 10-win seasons in the school's 117-year football history (3), is 12-5 against BCS schools and 4-3 against the Pac-12. Utah has won at least 10 games and finished in the A.P. and/or Coaches' Top 25 for the past three seasons.

His immediate task upon accepting Utah's head coaching job was to replace most of the starting lineup, including five NFL draft picks, from the 12-0 "BCS Buster" team of 2004. He won a bowl game in 2005--the first of five-straight bowl victories--and built the Utes back into a national championship contender in his fourth season.

His 2008 team broke the school win mark, going 13-0, routing Alabama--a team that had spent five weeks at No. 1--in the Sugar Bowl, and finishing with a No. 2 national ranking. Whittingham was recognized as the National Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Awards committee.

The country's only undefeated FBS team in 2008, Utah beat four top-25 teams--two that finished in the top 10. In addition to his national awards, Whittingham was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.

Dating back to his days as Utah's defensive coordinator, Utah won nine straight bowl games from 1999-2009 before losing to 10th-ranked Boise State in the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl. Utah's nine-consecutive bowl wins--five with Whittingham as the head coach--is tied for the second-longest bowl win streak in NCAA history with USC (nine from 1923-45) and is just two behind the longest ever (11 by Florida State from 1985-96).

Whittingham's bowl victories as a head coach have come against No. 24 Georgia Tech (2005), Tulsa (2006), Navy (2007), No. 4 Alabama (2009/2008 season) and California (2009). The NCAA credits both Whittingham and his predecessor Urban Meyer with a victory for Utah's 2005 Fiesta Bowl win over No. 19 Pittsburgh.

He has averaged almost 10 wins a year as the head coach, going 7-5 in 2005, 8-5 in 2006, 9-4 in 2007, 13-0 in 2008 and 10-3 in both 2009 and 2010.

Whittingham came to Utah as the defensive line coach in 1994 and was promoted to defensive coordinator a year later. In his 17-year tenure, Utah has won 70-percent of its games (143-61) and 10 of 12 bowl games. He has been on the staff of three teams that finished in the top-10: 1994 (No. 10), 2004 (No. 4) and 2008 (No. 2). The Utes finished 18th in both polls in 2009 and 23rd in the 2010 Coaches' poll.

Whittingham has coached seven All-Americans, including five first-team and three consensus All-Americans. First-team All-Americans include defensive lineman Luther Elliss (consensus 1994), defensive back Eric Weddle (consensus 2006), punter Louis Sakoda (2007), place kicker Sakoda (unanimous consensus 2008), offensive lineman Zane Beadles (2009) and punt returner Shaky Smithson (2010). Whittingham also has two second-team All-Americans to his credit: defensive back Morgan Scalley (2004) and offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff (2010).

Whittingham produced an MWC MVP from 2004-08, including Defensive Players of the Year Scalley (2004) and Weddle (2005-06), three-time Special Teams MVP Sakoda (2006-08), and Offensive MVP Brian Johnson (2008). Whittingham has mentored 51 first-team all-conference players in his 17 years at Utah.

He has also sent 35 players to the NFL--25 as draft picks and 10 as free agents. A school (and MWC) record six Utes were drafted in 2010, which was tied for the fourth-most in the nation.

During his tenure as defensive coordinator (1995-2004), Utah led the MWC in total defense three times and scoring defense four times. In 2002, Utah led the MWC in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense.

Whittingham began his coaching career in 1985-86 as a graduate assistant at Brigham Young. He served as the defensive coordinator at the College of Eastern Utah in 1987 then went to Idaho State for a six-year stint (1988-93)--the last two years as the defensive coordinator.

A linebacker for Brigham Young from 1978-81, Whittingham earned first-team all-WAC and WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1981. He played in the first four Holiday Bowls and was named Defensive MVP of the 1981 game. In 2008, he was inducted into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame. After his senior season, Whittingham played in the Hula and Japan Bowls. He played professionally with the Denver Broncos (1982 training camp) and the U.S. Football League's (USFL) Denver Gold (1983) and New Orleans Breakers (1984). He played on the Los Angeles Rams' replacement squad in 1987.

Whittingham graduated from BYU in 1984 and added a master's degree from the school in 1987. Born Nov. 21, 1959, he was raised in Provo, Utah. He is married to the former Jamie Daniels. They have four children: Tyler, Melissa, Alex and Kylie. Tyler played for Utah from 2009-10.

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