CURRENT JOB: Head coach at Utah
CURRENT ESTIMATED SALARY: $1.2 million
TIES TO UM: none
WHAT MAKES HIM A GOOD CANDIDATE: Whittingham got his first major coaching job in 1994, working with the defensive line at Utah. He later became the defensive coordinator there and served the position under former head coach Urban Meyer, who ended up leaving for the Florida job. Whittingham took over the team during the bowl game in the 2004 season. His first game as head coach Whittingham led the Utes to a win over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. A year later, as the team tried replacing first overall pick Alex Smith, Whittigham led the team to a 7-5 record and a win over Georgia Tech in the bowl game. Since having a team full of his coaches and recruits, Whittingham has led the Utes to a 33-5 record, including a big win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl two seasons ago. Whittingham was a big reason for Meyer's success at Utah and he's been outstanding ever since. His teams have produced 22 draft picks in five seasons, a very impressive number considering Utah's recruiting territories. He generally gets a lot out of his players and when given time to prepare for a quality opponent, Whittingham is usually outstanding (see his 6-0 record in bowl games, including the big win over Alabama).
WHY IT MAY BE UNLIKELY: He was born and raised in that part of the country and never left. He played at BYU and has coached there, Idaho, and Utah. That's been it. Does he have any interest in heading this far East? He's already making over 1 million a year and the Utes will likely give him a pay raise if Miami makes a serious run at him.
BOTTOM LINE: The guy can flat out coach. Ask Nick Saban. He was probably Meyer's top assistant, while Dan Mullen has gone on to become a solid head coach after following Meyer to Florida. He's very good on the defensive side of the ball. He's well respected around college football and would likely assemble a very good coaching staff. If he can win 33 of 38 at Utah, he can win a lot here. His team lost by 40 to TCU this season and 25 to Notre Dame so there is definitely a lower ceiling at Utah than there is at Miami. Is it a big enough difference to lure him this way if offered? For Miami fans, it would be exciting to find out. Everything points to Whittingham being the real deal.
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