Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham has been given a raise and an additional year on his contract. Both were agreed upon in a meeting with athletic director Chris Hill that took place before the 2011 regular season was complete.
University officials have confirmed that Whittingham's salary, which includes UnderArmour and other monies, will increase from $1.7 to $2 million per year covering the next five seasons.
"Before Thanksgiving, I offered him an increase in his salary. He did not solicit it and added a year to his contract," Hill said. "We made an amendment to his contract and not some big, long-out thing. So it was a relatively quick situation."
Whittingham, who is 65-25 since replacing Urban Meyer as head coach in 2005, was named AFCA Coach of the Year in 2008 after leading the Utes to an undefeated season and a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama. He also received the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award that year.
Utah went 7-5 this season and will face Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31.
"The reality is Kyle has done a very good job and we also need to be fair within the context of the Pac-12," Hill said.
According to figures collected by ESPN.com, which does not include private schools USC and Stanford, Whittingham's annual salary ranks behind Oregon's Chip Kelly ($2.8 million), UCLA's Jim Mora Jr. ($2.4 million), California's Jeff Tedford ($2.3 million), Washington's Steve Sarkisian ($2.25 million) and Washington State's Mike Leach ($2.25 million). Whittingham, however, is ahead of Arizona's Rich Rodriguez ($1.91 million), Oregon State's Mike Riley ($1.3 million) and Colorado's Jon Embree ($725,000). Arizona State paid Dennis Erickson $1.5 million in his final season.
Hill said he approached Whittingham to be proactive and not reactive as much as possible.
"We realize it's a lot of money," Hill explained. "But it's also a supply and demand and supporting your coach within the expectations of the program and the other folks in our league."
There are two kinds of coaches, Hill frequently says, those in demand and those who are not.
"I want the one in demand," he said.
Although Whittingham's name comes up often in rumors concerning vacancies across the country, the coach has consistently declined to comment on other jobs. Hill, however, acknowledged that Whittingham has always been very good about letting him know about hearing from other schools.
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