Kyle Whittingham, Utah Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2015

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Kyle Whittingham won't be leaving Salt Lake City anytime soon.

Utah announced on Friday that it agreed to a new four-year contract with its head coach:

NFL.com's Bryan Fischer had the financial breakdown, which involves a starting salary of $2.6 million in 2015 and then a $100,000 raise for each year remaining on the deal:

Fischer believes that the extension is a nice piece of business for both parties:

Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman added that securing Whittingham's future now will likely stabilize Utah's recruiting class for the upcoming season:

Whittingham just wrapped up his 10th year with the school. During that time, he's compiled an 84-43 record and taken the Utes to eight bowl games. Utah also finished unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in the country in 2008.

This news comes off the heels of a report by Matthew Piper of The Salt Lake Tribune that outlined a potential issue between Whittingham and Utah athletic director Chris Hill over the contracts for Whittingham's assistant coaches:

The hubbub started after defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake and defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki left, when sources told The Tribune and others that Whittingham and Hill were on bad terms, in part due to Hill's decision to limit lower-level assistants to single-year deals going forward.

An email from Hill to Whittingham, received in response to a Tribune records request, indicates that in addition to offering Sitake a three-year, $750,000 per year deal to remain competitive for his services as a defensive coordinator, Hill was willing to give Tuiaki a multiyear deal if Whittingham wanted to instead limit offensive coordinator Dave Christensen to a single year.

That appears to have been a nonstarter. All three coaches left the program — Sitake and Tuiaki to Oregon State, and Christensen to Texas A&M.

Whatever the problem was, Hill and Whittingham appear to have worked out their differences, ensuring that one of the school's most successful coaches will be sticking around for the long term.

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Since moving to the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah has failed to win more than nine games in a single season, but the Utes began making progress in 2014 (9-4). With the head coach secured, the school should continue morphing into a legitimate Pac-12 contender over the coming years.