In the midst of a blinding snowstorm, Utah athletics director Chris Hill decided to throw up a smokescreen as head coach Kyle Whittingham may continue to mull other coaching options. Hill’s statement on Mon. Dec. 28 said as much about the situation as it said little, frankly. His timing wasn’t all that great, either, as smoke in snowy skies usually creates situations that are hard to see through.
Maybe Whittingham will stay at Utah. But, maybe he will take an NFL coaching job with the Raiders–where his dad coached–or with the New York Jets. Or, maybe he will go back to BYU, his alma mater with whom you could say relations are kind of strained since he already turned down a head coaching job there once.
Because if you’ve learned anything about this weekend, you know that anybody–even Jim Harbaugh–can go back home to help a struggling program like his alma mater Michigan. Not that BYU is struggling per se–unless you count the Miami Beach Brawl as a struggle, that is.
BYU has been winning games by the fistfuls–although you would argue about some of their wins having validity. Speaking of being concerned about validity, Hill–not Taysom, but Chris in this case–had a few things to say about his head coach Whittingham possibly leaving Utah.
“As the athletics director, it is my job to meet with our head coaches to address aspects of their programs that can be improved,” Hill said. “Coach Whittingham and I met twice in person this week for this reason. I want to reassure our fans and recruits that Kyle Whittingham is our head coach and any rumors to the contrary have no validity.”
With that word validity that hundreds of people can now hashtag if they like, Hill even addressed former Utes defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake’s decision to accept a more lucrative but similar position at Oregon State under new OSU head coach Gary Andersen, who ironically enough is a Utah alum and a former Utes defensive coordinator.
“As for Kalani Sitake, I am sorry we could not retain him as our defensive coordinator. Prior to the bowl game I offered him a three-year contract worth $750,000 a year plus bonuses that brought it to $800,000. Thank you for your interest and passion for Utah football.”
Let’s hashtag the word validity, and, you’re welcome, Dr. Hill. Um, at least Utes fans think you’re welcome. Reading the latest talk about this statement Hill released on Monday though, nobody seems satisfied.
The Utah die-hards seem like they had their hearts broken because they wanted someone bigger like Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen or Andersen to take over, while the so-so fans who probably once rooted for BYU were like, OK, well, whatever, we’ve lived with Bronco and Crowton–so we can live with anything, really.
One follower of Utah football and Utah alum named Jesse let his passion be known online. He blasted the journalists who made everyone think Whittingham’s exit was as certain as the bucketfuls of snow falling from the sky upon the very campus where Whittingham and Hill met.
“@utahathletics nice reporting by @975Hans @1280Spence and @GordonMonson @1280sports WAY TO GO TROLLS!!” Jesse tweeted, including the Utah athletics department in his address. Another follower tweeted that Monson should be included in this firing squad.
“@GuntherKFAN @utahathletics and that d*****bag @GordonMonson @GordonMonson should be fired…the worst reporter ever,” tweeted someone with the Twitter profile of Tahoe Boy who in his profile and throes of passion states some big breaking news–he’s a huge U fan.
As for the journalists, well, few were satisfied with the outcome of their investigations, during which the hashtag #sources became their calling cards while revealing so-called breaking news. Since we now live in a litigious society hell bent on staying politically correct and gainfully employed, the best thing for a journalist to do–other than going on the record–is to use anonymous sources, invisible to you but not to the person writing the story. Right? Right?!?
The only problem is, crickets. The people reading the story haven’t a clue in Hades what you’re talking about or even referring to. Basically, it’s like you, the writer is playing the game of Telephone that you loved as a child, in which you lean over to the next person, whisper something in their ear and hope like hell that they repeat it correctly so that you continue to win said game.
In other words, it’s a giant gamble. On the one hand, you become a genius for having broken this amaze balls story. On the other hand, if you muck it up, you–as Jesse tweeted–look like a complete and total d-bag.
The Tribune reporter fired years ago won’t be the last who was canned for having bad, or partly invisible sources. Nevertheless, it appears the intrepid reporters assigned to this case are still on their witch hunt, seeking out blood or something sinewy related (or not) to Whittingham as they report on anything they can think of.
It’s a crazy world filled with hashtags and retweets and subtweets and well, tweets. Also, this has been a crazy weekend, brought to you in part to the mass hysteria leveled on a football program that just won its first bowl game in three years–and by sheer boredom brought on by record snow totals turning every Utah town from here to Cedar City into a winter wonderland. You know, we wanted a white Christmas–but this, this stuff, well, it is a bit ridiculous.
As for Whittingham, he helped give Utah its first winning season in three years. But, he was a head coach who was on the hot seat and perhaps has saved his own bacon by winning said bowl game. Yet before the Gatorade bath on his once-beleaguered head could even dry, whispers of him leaving became as common as the forty-something-odd bowl games currently inhabiting your TV sets.
Kyle’s being fired? He’s leaving for the NFL? For BYU? 1-2-3-4, let’s go write and tweet some more! It’s amazing what winning does to people, eh? One thing is certain: it usually drives them a bit crazy. For Whittingham, his hair has grayed on the sides a bit more this weekend and he’s got more of a paunch in his belly now that he’s been coaching these Utes for almost a decade.
In this day and age though, even incorrect information sometimes moves at the speed of sound and that’s one thing that neither the fans nor the recruits nor Whittingham himself can control. Today the Utah coach is still the Utah coach, but there’s still no guarantee that things will be the same tomorrow–particularly in the eyes of the people who pay good money for their tickets and expect, in all ways, shapes, and forms, a winner. If he is one, it’s a daily grind–both for him and his fans.