Utah coach Kyle Whittingham drops hint about potential retirement date

Utah named defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley the team's coach in waiting on July 1

Kyle Whittingham’s time as Utah head coach may not last much longer.

Utah announced earlier in July that defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley would officially become the team’s coach in waiting and would take over for Whittingham whenever the longtime Utes coach called it a career. The announcement didn’t include a date for Whittingham’s departure, but the 64-year-old coach gave a hint to when he could retire during Big 12 media day on Tuesday when he was asked about Las Vegas — the site of media day — and brought up Utah’s 2027 Week 1 opponent.

“It’s been a great opportunity to be able to play here as much as we have,” Whittingham said of Vegas. “We’re going to open here in [2027] against the Miami Hurricanes. I probably won’t be sitting here, but somebody will be, and that’s going to be a great opportunity again to come to Vegas and play a game.”

Whittingham is entering his 20th season as Utah’s head coach after taking over for Urban Meyer following the 2004 season. The Utes have won at least 10 games in seven seasons during Whittingham’s tenure and went undefeated in 2008. Overall, Utah is 162-79 under Whittingham.

The Utes are also the favorite to win the Big 12 as they enter their first season in the conference. With seventh-year quarterback Cam Rising returning along with a defense led by Scalley that should be one of the best in the conference, Utah seems to have a great shot at the 12-team College Football Playoff. Especially if Rising stays healthy. He missed the 2023 season because of a knee injury he suffered in the Rose Bowl at the end of the 2022 season and Utah finished 8-5.

“He immediately makes us better,” Whittingham said. “And Cam has that ‘it’ factor. As much as he does for us in play, it’s his leadership that really is probably the most valuable asset that he brings to the football team. He’s one of those guys that’s able to make everybody around him better. And that’s really what a great player does, is he makes his supporting cast play better.”