Whittingham Has Changed For The Better, Thanks To His Grandchildren

Oct 29, 2019, 1:12 PM | Updated: 1:13 pm
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on against the Arizona Wildcats from the sidelin...
Head coach Kyle Whittingham of the Utah Utes looks on against the Arizona Wildcats from the sidelines at Arizona Stadium on November 14, 2015 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Kyle Whittingham is an intimidating human. He demands excellence and will not settle for anything less, but there seems to be a new found calmness to Coach, and I suspect it has to do with his grandchildren.

Coach once told me he is hesitant to become too close with his players because of the fear that they would take advantage of him. There is a fine line when it comes to befriending your players and having them take advantage of how nice you are. Coach Whittingham does not even flirt with that idea.

If you are playing well, he will pat you on the back and if you are not playing well, or, not doing what you are expected to do, he will let you know about it, often with a raised voice.

I Noticed A Change

However, I witnessed a side of coach Whittingham that I had never seen before.

Earlier this season, the Utes fell to the USC Trojans 30-23 in what was a devastating road loss and as the radio sideline reporter, I am tasked with interviewing coach Whittingham after every game whether the Utes win or lose.

As expected, coach Whittingham sat down next to me and let out a deep sigh of regret. Clearly frustrated, we began conversing about the game and where it all went wrong. He then put on his headset and I conducted the interview.

Immediately following the interview, Coach and I reignited the conversation we were having prior to the interview starting. What could Utah have done differently to change the outcome of the game? He was sad, frustrated and upset with himself.

Then, his face lit up, his eyes widened and his smile reached from earlobe to earlobe. He was ecstatic.

His wife, Jaime, brought in his youngest, toddler-aged grandchild.

Following that experience, I started asking people close to the program the difference grandchildren have had on Coach Whittingham. Everybody seemed to agree with me when I told them that I think grandchildren have calmed coach down.

The Balance Between Family & Football

Sure, he still takes his football seriously and the hours he spends inside those facility doors have not changed, but his persona is calmer and he is clearly more content. He is happier than he once was.

It helps that Utah is 7-1 on the season and is touted as a top 10 team nationally, so yes, winning changes everything, but there is no doubt about the impact being a grandfather has had on coach has changed him for the better.

Being in charge of a college football team is important, don’t believe me? Just look at how much money Coach Whittingham makes and then try and tell me I am wrong.

Family means the world to coach Whittingham and there is no better example than when you see his face ignite with joy immediately following one of the more heartbreaking losses of his career.

Thanks, grandchild who I shall not name. You make my job a lot easier when you put Coach in a better mood.

During Pac 12 Media Days prior to the 2019 season kicking off, KSLSports.com’s cross-platform host Ben Anderson, asked coach Whittingham what his grandchildren call him.

“Grandpa, papa, whatever,” Coach said. “I’ll reply to pretty much anything…they can’t really say it that well though,” he added.

Coach Whittingham currently has three grandchildren, with more on the way.


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Whittingham Has Changed For The Better, Thanks To His Grandchildren