Utah Football Legend John Pease Passes Away At Age 77

Aug 16, 2021, 12:17 PM | Updated: 1:27 pm
John Pease - Utah Utes...
John Pease, Defensive Line coach, watches players execute drills during a Utah football practice at the University of Utah. August 19, 2010. (Michael Brandy, Deseret News).
(Michael Brandy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Football program is grieving today following the news that former player, coach, and mentor John Pease has passed away at the age of 77.

Pease began his Utah football career in 1963 when he joined the program. He graduated in 1946 following a 9-2 season under head coach Ray Nagel. Four years later, Pease began his coaching career when he joined Utah’s staff as a Graduate Assistant in 1968. His first full-time coaching job came in 1970 when he took the job of Defensive Coordinator at Fullerton College.

His coaching career spanned 47 years. In 1978, after spending the previous year at Utah as the linebackers coach, Pease joined the NFL ranks when he took over as coach of the Defensive Line at the Washington Football Team.

His final coaching stint came in 2015 when he endured one season as Utah’s Defensive Coordinator. During that year, he aided Utah to a 10-3 record that was led by defensive leaders in Hunter Dimick, Marcus Williams, among others.

Rest Easy, Coach

I, Tom Hackett, had the fortune of being coached by Pease. The 2015 season was my final year at Utah Football and although he was not directly in charge of coaching me as the punter, we spent a lot of time talking with one and another. He always had a smile on his face, regardless of what was going on in his personal or football life.

He was the first coach to get to work. Every morning as the clock ticked 5 a.m. Pease would walk through the facility doors, make sure his desk was set up for the day before promptly walking to the gym where he would walk, climb, or ride various stationary workout equipment.

In 2014 he was acting as a mentor to Kyle Whittingham and I will never forget when he walked into the indoor field and took on the difficult task of teaching the specialists how to tackle.

Everything he did was out of his love for the game of football. He was an addict, a football junkie.

Pease had a unique ability to connect with everybody. He was curious about everybody’s stories and wanted to do everything he could to ensure the players at Utah Football grew as football players and humans.

Very few coaches at Utah Football have been able to have a similar impact on the program that Pease was able to do during his time on earth. He is a Utah Football icon, legend, and will forever be remembered for his commitment to the program.


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