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Kyle Whittingham Named Finalist For Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award

Dec 14, 2021

HOUSTON – University of Utah Football head coach Kyle Whittingham has been named a finalist for the 2021 Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year award, announced today by the American Heart Association.

Whittingham, who was also named the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award Pac-12 Coach of the Year, won the award in 2008 and in one of nine finalists in 2021. This season, Whittingham was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and is also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award.

Whittingham became Utah's all-time wins leader (144-69) this season while earning the Utes' first Pac-12 Championship since joining the league in 2011. Under the direction of Whittingham, the Utes have won the Pac-12 South title outright three times (2018, 2019, 2021), also earning a share of the south in 2015.

After a 1-2 start to the season, the Utes have won 9 of their last 10 games, heading to their first Rose Bowl appearance. Utah is 10-3 overall this season, the fifth 10+ win season under the direction of Whittingham.

Utah has been consistently among the best in the nation on both sides of the ball this season, currently ranking 14th in the FBS in rushing offense (216.1), seventh in sacks allowed per game (0.92), 12th in total defense (315.4) and 11th in both defensive sacks (3.23) and tackles for loss per game (7.4). The Utes are currently one of six Power Five programs (only Pac-12 team) that is ranked in the top 30 in the FBS in scoring offense and scoring defense, sitting at 19th and 24th, respectively.

Whittingham is the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 and the second-longest tenured coach at the same school in the FBS. He has coached in 338 games at Utah (11 seasons as an assistant) and 213 as the head coach.

He has won three National Coach of the Year recognitions – two in 2008 and one in 2019. He was AFCA Coach of the Year and Bear Bryant Award winner in 2008, and the Dodd Trophy Coach of the Year in 2019. He was also named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2019.

Whittingham will lead the Utes to their first Rose Bowl appearance on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022 when they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The game is set for a 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT kick on ESPN.