Kyle Whittingham Becomes All-Time Winningest Coach In Utah Football History

Nov 20, 2021, 8:54 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm

Kyle Whittingham - Utah Utes - Oregon Ducks...

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham walks the sideline as Utah and Oregon play an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Kyle Whittingham picked up his 142nd career win as head coach of Utah football and is now the all-time winningest coach in school history.

With the 38-7 win over No. 3 Oregon on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Kyle Whittingham passed Ike Armstrong for the most wins in program history.

Whittingham is in his 17th season as the head coach of the Utes and has won eight games or more in 11 of those seasons.

Kyle Whittingham’s Tenure At Utah

Whittingham joined the Utes’ coaching staff as the defensive line coach in 1994. He moved to defensive coordinator and safeties coach in 1995 for two seasons, before moving to coaching the linebackers while still calling the plays on defense. In 1998, Whittingham went back to the safeties and was still DC until 2000. Before the 2001 season, Whittingham went back to linebackers coach until 2005 when he was promoted to head coach.

Whittingham co-coached the 2005 Fiesta Bowl with Urban Meyer, who was coaching his last game at Utah before leaving to take over the Florida football program. The 2005 season was the first full season under Whittingham for the Utes. They went 7-5 before going 8-5 during the 2006 season and improving once again to 9-4 in 2007. The 2008 season was special as Whittingham led the team to an undefeated 13-0 record and beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

That was the second time that Utah beat a power-five team in a BCS bowl game as a non-BCS school. Utah went 10-3 in each of their next two seasons before leaving the Mountain West Conference and joining the Pac-12. Whittingham would keep his teams consistently competitive for the most part at the power-5 level.

Utah started the Pac-12 era with an 8-5 record before having to straight 5-7 seasons. Besides the 2020 season, that was the only two years under Whittingham that the Utes didn’t go to a bowl game.

In 2014, Utah finished 9-4, followed by a 7-6 season in 2017. The 2018 team went 9-5 and won the program’s first Pac-12 South Division Title. They won the division again in 2019 and nearly reached the College Football Playoff but finished the season 11-3. During the COVID-19 shortened season in 2020, Utah went 3-2 and decided to not go to a bowl game.

About Ike Armstrong

Ike Armstrong had a very long stint as the head coach at Utah. He served as the head coach from 1925-49 and coached 211 games in 25 seasons. Back then, most college football seasons were no more than 10 games and were mainly eight or nine games. In 25 seasons, Armstrong took Utah to one bowl game in 1938 after a 7-1 record with a win in the Sun Bowl.

Of those 25 seasons, Armstrong and Utah won at least six games. He had five undefeated seasons at the helm. Armstrong compiled a career record of 141-55-15. He was also the basketball coach from 1925-27 and was 9-18 in that position. The Fort Madison, Iowa native was also the Athletic Director from 1925-50. Armstrong was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1957.

That was his only head coaching gig in his career. He died on September 4, 1983 at age 88.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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Kyle Whittingham Becomes All-Time Winningest Coach In Utah Football History