Could BYU HC Kalani Sitake Return To Utah Football?

Jun 18, 2020, 12:13 PM
Kyle Whittingham - Utah Utes - Kalani Sitake - BYU Cougars - Golfing...
Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham, left, watches BYU coach Kalani Sitake walk during the annual National Kidney Foundation fundraiser and golf invitational at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy, Utah, on June 19, 2017. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There is a chance the University of Utah football team will need a new defensive coordinator this fall. Currently, Morgan Scalley is suspended, pending an investigation, for a text message that included a racial slur back in 2013.

There is no word either way about Scalley’s future with the Utah program, one that has dated back to his playing days which ended in 2004.

Finding a replacement this late in the offseason who is not within the program would be next to impossible. The likely scenario would be for the Utes to promote from within. One name to look at is Sharrieff Shah, the cornerback’s coach and special teams coordinator. Another option would be to have Kyle Whittingham take over defensive duties for the upcoming year.

However, KSL Sports’ Tom Hackett brought up Kalani Sitake, who is currently the head coach at BYU, as someone the Utes should call if the need for a defensive coordinator arises.

Why Would Kalani Sitake Take A Step Backwards?

To be clear, there is no indication about Utah reaching out to Sitake or is there about Scalley being relieved of his duties. Some of the points Hackett made about why Sitake warrants a call include being in a less-demanding job, the opportunity to be Utah’s next head coach, and maybe more pay as Utah’s defensive coordinator.

He does realize Sitake would be going from his alma mater as a head coach to taking a step down career-wise as a defensive coordinator, a position he has held twice in his career, once at Utah and once at Oregon State.

“I think Kalani Sitake gets a call,” Hackett said. “He would be a lot happier. The BYU job is not that good. If I were to quote [former BYU basketball head coach] Dave Rose who I golfed with a few weeks ago. I asked him what were the 14 years like at BYU. He said, ‘they were like dog years and the losses hurt and the wins started to not feel as good.”

One of the main reasons Hackett alluded to is that Whittingham is not going to be the head coach at Utah in about five years and Sitake could come in as the defensive coordinator with the promise of taking over at a Power 5 job once it is open.

“There is more to it [than being the defensive coordinator]. I would say this to Kyle Whittingham’s face, he has three to four years left in him,” Hackett said. “At 65 he is gone and he is not gone because he is fired, he is gone because he wants to be. He wants to travel… he has grandchildren and that will play a big big role in his decision.”

“My point being is that he warrants a phone call, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he took it. BYU fans will be losing their mind screaming at me.”

KSL Sports’ Alex Kirry chimed in and noted how a move to Utah could be better financially and might be easier than dealing with the enormous pressure of being the BYU head coach.

“Every person who is honest with themselves and says, ‘if a company is hunting you down, wants you and offers you X amount of dollars and it is a better situation,” Kirry said. “If it is way more pressure on Kalani right now as the head coach of BYU than it would be making, maybe, the same money as being the defensive coordinator at Utah. Being able to have that and maybe being the next in line, I don’t know, I don’t blame him. I think you are crazy [Tom] but that is fine.”

The odds of Sitake taking a demotion in coaching rank are slim, even with the promise of taking over the Utah program. Coaches work their lives to be able to lead a program of their own and he already has that at BYU.

That would be something hard to give up for any coach.

However, Sitake has ties to Utah so at the very least he warrants a call, according to Hackett.

Twitter Reacts To Kalani Sitake To Utah

Hackett’s statement caused a lot of reaction on Twitter for and against Sitake heading back to Utah.

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