Utah Utes football: Kyle Whittingham takes charge in demolition effort

Published: Tuesday, March 27 2012 2:23 p.m. MDT

Kyle Whittingham is all smiles after beginning the tear down of the Dee Glen Smith Athletics Center to usher in construction of a new multi-million dollar football facility at the University of Utah Tuesday, March 27, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — As far as kickoffs go, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham showed no mercy. He quickly tore things down.

Sitting at the controls of a bulldozer, Whittingham kicked off demolition of the Dee Glen Smith Center with a couple of destructive swipes. The building is being demolished to make room for a new $30 million state-of-the-art football facility, slated to open before the 2013 season.

"This will put us right towards the top of the Pac-12," Whittingham said while noting that the new complex will be huge for a couple of reasons. It'll give the players a place to take care of all of their needs, including sports medicine. Plus, it'll be good for recruiting. Whittingham called it the "missing piece to the puzzle" as the program moves forward.

"It's going to be a great setup for us," Whittingham said.

In the meantime, though, the Utah football program has set up temporary quarters in trailers spanning 19,583-square feet near the Spence Eccles Field House.

Busy construction crews surround the Utes. Accompanying projects include two lighted practice fields (one grass, one turf).

Making room for the future was something Whittingham enjoyed playing an active part of on Tuesday.

"That was exhilarating, without a doubt," Whittingham said after knocking down a couple of walls with the bulldozer. "I've always been fascinated by big machinery and heavy-duty stuff. I tell you what, that's a feeling of power when you're up there."

Whittingham appeared to be having so much fun, in fact, that a reporter asked if he was going to spend the rest of the day operating the machine.

"There was that possibility — yes," Whittingham said. "That was awesome. I've never had that feeling of complete control of power at your fingertips."

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: DirkFacer

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