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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Whittingham puts high price tag on his defensive coordinator

Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham always says he will never stand in the way of any of his assistants who leave to coach elsewhere if they think the situation presents a better opportunity.

Suffice it to say though, he apparently doesn't want defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake going anywhere any time soon.

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Sitake, who made $225,000 last year, was given an increase bringing his salary to $500,000, according to records obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

The increase, which went into effect Jan. 1 and lasts until June 30, 2014, makes Sitake Utah's highest paid assistant coach by more than double that of any other coach on staff, including new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson whose salary was increased from $120,000 to $225,000 with his promotion.

Sitake has been with the Utes for the last seven seasons and is regarded as one of the Utes' best recruiters in addition to being valued for his coaching skills.

The Utes finished among the nation's Top 25 in nine defensive categories in Sitake's first two years as coordinator and in 2011 led the Pac-12 in scoring defense giving up just 19.67 points a game and pass efficiency.

Hired away from SUU by Utah coach Kyle Whittingham in 2005, Sitake coached the linebackers from 2005 to 2008. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in December of 2008 when Gary Andersen resigned to become the head coach at Utah State.

Sitake applied for the head job at Hawaii, a position that was filled by Norm Chow who was with the Utes only one year as offensive coordinator.

With the money he is making now, it's going to have to be a pretty sweet gig to lure Sitake away.

- Lya Wodraska

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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