Utah Athletics: Mark Harlan talks Kyle Whittingham, NIL, transfer portal

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham walks on the field prior to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

At the Rose Bowl last January, University of Utah director of athletics Mark Harlan and his son, Austin, purposefully walked out on the football field in Pasadena, California, well before pregame warmups began so they could watch Kyle Whittingham walk out for the first time and see the look on the head coach’s face.

They were not disappointed.

“I wanted to see Kyle’s face, because I figured it would be interesting. It was a cool moment,” Harlan said last week, a day after an amendment to Whittingham’s contract came to light. Whittingham received a significant pay raise, which the four-year athletic director said was well-deserved, both in a statement to the media and to the Deseret News in a lengthy interview on June 15.

“I happen to think he is at the very best of what he does. I tend to not think too far into the future. … Not having Kyle (Whittingham) here is not something that enters my mind too much.” — Utah athletic director Mark Harlan

“Once I saw the guys warming up, it became a reality to me that this is where we belong as a program,” Harlan continued. “And I thought about how hard (Whittingham) worked to get here, and the things that he has done. I thought, you know, this isn’t just one time that we are going to play on this field on Jan. 1. We are going to be back.”

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Although the amendment to Whittingham’s contract was signed March 15, the coach created a minor stir earlier this month after a charity golf event with BYU coach Kalani Sitake, when he hinted that he may soon follow the lead of Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who had abruptly resigned the previous day.

“There comes a time when you need a new voice and need a new leader, and obviously (Snyder) felt the time was right for him right now, and I am kinda close to that in my career,” Whittingham, 62, said that day.

It didn’t take long for the comment to make its way back to Harlan.

“I figured he …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

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