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Whittingham growing into his own as a coach

Published November 1, 2012 3:19 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Had a story in today's Tribune on the very different coaching styles between Washington State's Mike Leach and Utah's Kyle Whittingham. Writing it gave me a chance to reflect on the way Whittingham has changed since he became the head coach in 2005. Back then he was very much a guy who was trying to work his way out of Urban Meyer's shadow. Often he'd come across as defensive or guarded and wasn't comfortable in the public eye. He has changed immensely in the last couple of years, particularly after the Sugar Bowl win. Can't seem him ever being the kind of offbeat, ham it up kind of guy Leach can be, but he has definitely relaxed as a coach as his confidence has increased. Whittingham, while still a private person and one who never seeks publicity, is much more comfortable in his role as the head coach. What struck me the most during Utah's four-game losing streak, which was the longest in Whittingham's career, is the way he stayed level-headed about the Utes' situation in the public eye. Often players and coaches can get rather cranky and hard to deal with in losing situations. You can't blame them, no one likes to re-hash a bunch of mistakes or losses. However, Whittingham's demeanor remained steady. Last week he said he wasn't going to make any drastic changes (Ok, maybe you can call switching the places of Aaron Roderick and Brian Johnson a big change) and that the Utes were going to keep doing what they've done in the past because it has worked. His personality certainly reflected that outlook. Leach is definitely his own person and Whittingham sure is defining who he is as a coach in recent seasons too. - Lya Wodraska

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