COUGAR TRACKS

Kalani Sitake Sees BYU Football As Power Five Operation Already

May 2, 2022, 10:48 PM
BYU football, Kalani Sitake, Utah Utes...
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake and the rest of the BYU sideline begin to celebrate as they defeat Utah in an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. BYU won 26-17, ending a nine-game losing streak to the Utes. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The anticipation for BYU football in the Big 12 Conference continues to grow. For years, Cougar fans have dreamed about their favorite university being among the elites of college athletics, the Power Five.

They must wait until July 1, 2023, to officially see BYU athletics as a Power Five member. But for BYU coach Kalani Sitake, his program that has won 21 games since 2020, already runs like a P5.

BYU football continues to build up its staff

Sitake announced eight support staff hires to his football program that continues to ramp up its efforts for life in the Big 12 Conference. Having additional staff was a key component of Sitake’s “unprecedented” contract extension that kept him in Provo after interviewing for the Oregon job.

“As far as help with the analysts, the coaches, and also the support staff, I want to get as much help as possible. Because I really feel the more minds, the better for us. But we’ll keep working with it.” said Sitake. “Tom said it was ‘unprecedented,’ which means that we’re going to go through some waves of adding people and I just don’t know when they’re going to happen, but I’m not really patient. And that’s OK; I’ll keep asking. In the meantime, we’re going to keep working towards getting this team ready to play, and that’s this season.”

The 2022 campaign will mark BYU’s last as an FBS Independent. A situation that no one around BYU football will likely miss. But it’s another demanding schedule that includes five teams that finished in the AP Top 25 last season. The additional hires can only help a support staff that Sitake believes was “spread too thin” in previous seasons.

“I know everything’s trying to get in place for the Big 12. But we’re functioning as if we’re a P5 program. We’ve been doing that for a long time; the work is there, which allows our guys to maybe focus on something a little bit unique and master their craft, but also find ways to really improve our program altogether.”

The vision comes from BYU’s administration

After the new hires, BYU has up to 41 people listed on its football staff, including strength & conditioning coaches, training staff, and academic advisors. Big 12 Champion Baylor has 46 people in football staff roles.

Sitake credits the commitment to increased resources and staff to BYU’s administration led by President Kevin J. Worthen, Advancement VP Keith Vorkink, and athletic director Tom Holmoe.

“The lead comes from them. It starts from President Worthen to President Vorkink and then to Tom, and then filters down to me. So when we act, and we’re able to do things, it’s because of them and the vision that they have for the program. It’s great to have our administration involved. But they’re in the locker rooms and with the players; they talk with our coaches. So they know exactly what needs to happen and, the importance and the influence that the added resources could provide for our players, the experience that it could enhance. All of that stuff comes from our administration first.  And so when we work and communicate, they already have an idea of what needs to be added to our football program.”

Now it just remains, will these additional resources continue to deliver the wins that BYU has grown accustomed to? They’ll find out on September 3 as the 2022 season kicks off against USF in Tampa.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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