Utah has played to 64 straight sellouts (60 which exceeded the seating capacity) in Rice-Eccles Stadium extending back to the 2010 opener against Pittsburgh. In its first 22 years, there have been 83 total standing-room-only crowds. The venue's seating capacity was increased to 45,807 in 2014, and as a result, the top five season attendance averages and 12 of the top 15 single-game crowds in Rice-Eccles Stadium history were recorded in the last six years. The Utes averaged a school-record 46,533 fans per game in 2015, when they also recorded their best single-game attendance mark (47,825 vs. Michigan). Dating back to its 13-0 Sugar Bowl campaign of 2008, Utah's average attendance has exceeded the stadium's capacity for 12 consecutive years.
Kyle Whittingham, the longest-tenured coach in the Pac-12 Conference and the third-longest tenured head coach at the same school in the NCAA FBS, is in his 16th season at the helm at Utah, where he boasts a 131-64 record. He has led Utah to back-to-back Pac-12 South titles.
Including 11 seasons as a Ute assistant coach, he has contributed to more victories (216) than any coach in program history. He is the second-winningest head coach at Utah behind Ike Armstrong (141 victories).
His many accomplishments include three National Coach of the Year recognitions—two in 2008 and one in 2019. Whittingham was the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year and Bear Bryant Award winner in 2008, when Utah was declared the national champion by an NCAA major selector while finishing No. 2 in the Associated Press poll. He captured the Dodd Trophy for Coach of the Year, Pac-12 Coach of the Year and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2019. Whittingham was also a finalist for the AFCA Coach of the Year and Bear Bryant Award last season.
Legendary for his postseason success, Whittingham 11 bowl wins (11-3) tie him for second among active coaches and ranks in the top-10 all-time (including ties). His glossy bowl record includes a 2-0 mark in College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowls, with wins over Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl as co-head coach and Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
The Utes appeared in every weekly CFP ranking for the first three years of the system (2014-16) and have made the sixth-most appearances of any school with 30 total. Utah has finished in the CFP top-25 in five seasons. The Utes have made the final AP top-25 six times and the final Coaches' poll seven times under Whittingham.
Whittingham's teams have also performed well against AP top-25 teams, recording 15 wins against them, including victories over No. 4 Alabama (2009), No. 5 Stanford (2013) and No. 8 UCLA (2014). He has enjoyed great success against Power Five conferences, producing winning records against the ACC (7-1), Big Ten (4-1), Big 12 (5-4) and SEC (1-0). The Utes have also fared well in nine years in the Pac-12, winning or sharing three Pac-12 South Division titles and registering wins against every school.
Now in his 27th year overall at Utah, Whittingham began his Ute career as the defensive line coach in 1994. He served as the defensive coordinator from 1995-2004 and became the school's 20th head coach on December 8, 2004. His first victory came three weeks later as the co-coach (with Urban Meyer) in Utah's 2005 Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh. His first regular-season victory was against Arizona in the 2005 season opener.
Whittingham has had 20 players make major All-America teams (those determining the NCAA's consensus team). In addition to his head coaching responsibilities, Whittingham coaches Utah's punters and kickers. Tom Hackett (2014 and 2015) and Mitch Wishnowsky (2016) won the Ray Guy Award three years running and Matt Gay was the Lou Groza Award winner the following year. Nate Orchard was Whittingham's other national award winner, capturing the 2014 Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end. Whittingham's players have won a total of 89 first-team all-conference awards, including 38 in Utah's nine seasons of Pac-12 membership.
One reason behind his success is Whittingham's reputation for developing NFL talent. Seven Utes were drafted in 2020—most in the Pac-12 and tied for the fifth-most in the nation—and the Utes' 21 selections in the last four drafts lead all Pac-12 schools. This period began with a school-record eight NFL draft picks in 2017, which led the Pac-12 and tied for third in the country. As an assistant or head coach, 98 of Whittingham's players have signed contracts with NFL teams (57 draft picks, including 14 first or second-round selections, and 41 undrafted free agents).
Whittingham graduated from BYU in 1984 and added a master's degree from the school in 1987. Born Nov. 21, 1959, he was raised in Provo, Utah. He is married to the former Jamie Daniels. They have four children: Tyler, Melissa, Alex and Kylie, and four grandchilden. Tyler and Alex both played for the Utes.
In his 13th year overall, Morgan Scalley is in his fifth season as Utah's defensive coordinator. He has coached the safeties his entire time on the staff, was the recruiting coordinator from 2009-15 and the special teams' coordinator in 2015. Scalley, who owns a reputation as one of the brightest defensive minds in the business, was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2019, when the Utes ranked second in the FBS in total defense. Utah has led the Pac-12 three times in the last four seasons in rushing defense, and ranked top five in the nation in rushing defense in 2018 and '19. The 2016 Utes led the conference in sacks and tackles for loss. He has coached seven All-Americans, 13 first-team all-conference players and two Freshman All-Americans.
Andy Ludwig, who served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the undefeated 2008 season, returned in 2019 and helped lead the offense to heights unrivaled in recent history. Ludwig had spent the 2015-18 seasons as Vanderbilt's offensive coordinator following a two-year run at Wisconsin (2013-14), two years at San Diego State (2011-12) and two years at California (2009-10). He had a four-year period as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Utah (2005-08), which followed three years in the same role at Oregon (2002-04). The return of Ludwig to Utah in 2019 sparked an offensive explosion that saw the Utes lead the Pac-12 in rushing yards, passing efficiency, completion percentage and third-down conversion rate.
Entering his seventh season as the offensive line coach, Jim Harding has also served as Utah's assistant head coach (2017-present) and co-offensive coordinator (2015-16). He has coached four first-team All-Pac-12 selections and 2016 Morris Award winner in Isaac Asiata. Harding has produced and six NFL draft picks, including four members of the 2016 offensive line and at least one in three of the past five years. Harding's linemen have blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in the last six seasons. He came to Utah after five seasons at Wyoming as an offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator (2013).
Sharrieff Shah is in his ninth season coaching the cornerbacks and second year as the special teams coordinator after serving three years as the co-coordinator. Shah has sent five cornerbacks to the NFL, and coached Jaylon Johnson to All-America and first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2019. He also has a first-team All-America punt returner and a Freshman All-America punt returner to his credit. Shah was cited by ESPN.com in 2014 as one of "10 coaches who adapt and thrive." He was a practicing attorney before becoming a coach at Utah.
Now in his fifth season as Utah's tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator, Freddie Whittingham has helped develop Utah's roster for the past eight years. Before moving to the sidelines, Whittingham was Utah's director of player personnel from 2012-15, managing all aspects of recruiting administration and organization, directing camps and clinics, and serving as the program's NFL liaison. He is the younger brother of Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.
Fifth-year Utah wide receivers coach Guy Holliday is a 27-year veteran of college coaching, including more than two decades coaching receivers and six years as an offensive coordinator. In 2017, Holliday coached Darren Carrington II to second-team All-Pac-12 honors. Holliday has had 22 wide receivers sign with NFL teams, among them former are Ute Tim Patrick, who made the Denver Broncos roster as an undrafted free agent in 2017. Holliday's previous FBS coaching stops were at Western Michigan (2000-02), Mississippi State (2003-06) and UTEP (2008-12) and BYU (2013-15). He also coached at Clark-Atlanta, Tuskegee, Alabama State and Cornell.
Fourth-year running backs coach Kiel McDonald has progressively elevated the running game. Zack Moss achieved his third consecutive 1,000-yard season and became Utah's all-time leading rusher last season, breaking a mark that had stood for 31 years with 4,067 yards. Moss was named the 2019 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, earned All-America honors and was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft. Before coming to Utah, McDonald spent five years at Eastern Washington (2012-16), where he was also the co-special teams' coordinator. The Eagles made the FCS playoffs four times, advancing to the national semifinals in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
Former Ute and NFL defensive tackle Sione Po'uha (pronounced see-oh-nee bo-oo-ha) returned to his alma mater as a full-time assistant coach in December of 2018, joining the staff just before the Holiday Bowl. Po'uha coaches the Ute defensive tackles after filling the same role at Navy in 2018. Under Po'uha's tutelage in 2019, Leki Fotu earned second-team All-America and first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Fotu was a fourth-round NFL draft pick and John Penisini was taken in the sixth round in 2020. He started his coaching career as a Utah student-assistant in 2015-16 before becoming Utah's director of football player development in 2017. Po'uha was a third round NFL draft pick by the New York Jets in 2005.
Lewis Powell is in his sixth season as a Ute assistant coach and fifth working with the defensive line. His primary responsibility is the defensive ends. Powell has coached two All-Americans, three All-Pac-12 defensive linemen and seven NFL players since his return to Utah. Hunter Dimick was a second-team All-American in 2016. Bradlee Anae was a consensus All-American and won the Pac-12’s Morris Trophy as the best defensive lineman in 2019. Utah has led the Pac-12 in rushing defense three times under Powell. He coached the defensive line at Hawaii from 2012-14. He started his career at Utah as a graduate assistant from 2009-10 and an administrative assistant in 2011.
Colton Swan is in his second year coaching Utah’s linebackers. In his first season, Francis Bernard was named first-team All-Pac-12. Swan spent the previous 15 years at Weber State, working with the linebackers for seven. He was the Wildcats' co-defensive coordinator from 2009-11 and a special teams coordinator from 2014-18. He also coached the safeties (2006-08) and tight ends (2014-16). Weber State won Big Sky championships in 2017-18 and made the FCS playoffs from 2016-18, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2017 and 2018.