Morgan Scalley

As expected, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham stayed "in-house" to fill the vacancy on his coaching staff.

Former player Morgan Scalley was officially hired as the Utes' new safeties coach. He'll also be involved with special teams.

"We are pleased to announce the addition of Morgan Scalley to our coaching staff," Whittingham said in a released statement. "As a coach, Morgan brings the same energy and passion to our program that he did when he was a team captain and an All-America defensive back for us. Morgan did a great job this past season in his role as a graduate assistant coach, and after conducting a national search, it became apparent that he was the right fit for our staff."

Scalley enthusiastically agrees.

"I have always been a 'Utah Man' and I'm grateful that coach Whittingham has given me the opportunity to coach at the school I love," Scalley said in the official announcement. "In addition to coaching, I think I can sell this program as well as anyone — because I truly believe in what the U. has to offer. I can't wait for the season to start."

Scalley, who has spent the past two campaigns as a graduate assistant — the first as an administrator, the second as coach of the strong-side linebackers — replaces Derrick Odum on the full-time staff. Odum left Utah last month to become the secondary coach at SMU.

The departure was just the second in Whittingham's three seasons as head coach. Aaron Alford joined the coaching staff last year after Jay Boulware accepted a position at Iowa State.

Scalley had a stellar playing career at Utah as a defensive back and return specialist. He was a captain on Utah's 2004 team that went 12-0 and made a historic journey into the Bowl Championship Series.

Scalley was named co-Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and garnered second-team All-American recognition from the Associated Press and He participated in the East-West Shrine Game and was awarded with the inaugural Pat Tillman Award for his character, intelligence, service and sportsmanship.

The former Highland High star and Deseret News Mr. Football recipient also excelled academically — earning two post-graduate scholarships, including one from the NCAA. Scalley was a two-time, first-team Academic All-American and was named Anson Mount and MWC Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2004.

He earned a bachelor's degree in mass communication (graduating magna cum lade with a 3.96 grade point average) before completing a master's degree in business administration.

"Morgan has been with us so he's very familiar with the scheme. He's very familiar with our personnel, and he's very familiar with the type of young men we like to recruit," said defensive coordinator Gary Andersen.

"And he's very smart — a smart football player and he was very, very smart, obviously, in the classroom."

The opportunity to coach at your alma mater, Andersen added, is very unique and special.

"Morgan's a very good young coach and we're happy to get him on the staff with us. It's always nice when you have the opportunity to keep Utah guys in Utah," he explained.

"Morgan, I guess like me, was sitting over in those stands when he was 2 or 3 years old watching University of Utah football games and grew up as a Ute. Now he has the opportunity to coach here."