What Kyle Whittingham, Kalani Sitake, Said About Quin Snyder On Monday


What Kyle Whittingham, Kalani Sitake, Said About Quin Snyder On Monday

The sudden resignation of eight-year-old Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder on Sunday afternoon sent shockwaves through not only the NBA but the Utah sports community. This was particularly noted by the state’s other two high-profile head coaches, Kyle Whittingham of Utah and Kalani Sitake of BYU.

Both men took time out from golf at the annual Coaches Legacy Invitational — formerly known as the Rivalry for Charity — at Hidden Valley Country Club to discuss Snyder’s decision and address their own different situations. According to CEO Deen Vetterli, the event raised $60,000 for the National Kidney Foundation in Utah and Idaho.

“There comes a time when you need a new voice and a new leader and obviously[Snyder]felt like the time was right for him and I’m pretty close in my career,” Whittingham said , 62, who has been the head coach of Utah since 2004.

“There comes a time when you need a new voice and a new leader and obviously[Quin Snyder]felt like the time was right for him and I’m pretty close in my career.” Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham

And that wasn’t the only hint Whittingham gave Monday that his days on the Hill might be coming to an end. Before stepping in front of print reporters and television cameras, he suggested that Utah defense coordinator Morgan Scalley, who played in Whittingham’s foursome, should do the interview as he could soon be in that position.

Something was said lightly, so take it as you will.

Meanwhile, Sitake, 46, said he wasn’t even considering resigning when asked about the dangers of burnout and the mental health implications of being a coach.

“I know myself that I’m having so much fun. Maybe there will come a time when I will have to step down,” he said. “But until then I will continue to play golf and have as much fun as possible with the young men I get to coach and interact with the fans and the media. I’m having too much fun to think about it right now.”

When asked if last year’s 26-17 loss to BYU in Provo could have been his last game against the Cougars as the teams aren’t scheduled to meet again until 2024, Whittingham was noncommittal.

“You just never know,” he said. “I can already tell you that I’m excited about this year’s team and what we have ahead of us this fall. I have more energy than ever before. But again, I hope and count on knowing and understanding when the time is right.”

For the record, Whittingham’s team shot an 18-under-54 in the four-man scramble format to defeat Sitake’s team, who shot a 64. Whittingham stacks his team with wrestlers annually, while Sitake takes a more relaxed approach and brings boosters. Friends and associates so that the result was never really in doubt.

Also, Sitake freely admits, Whittingham is a much better golfer.

“I don’t think BYU fans will want to see my golf game improve anytime soon,” Sitake said.

Nor do they want the popular coach to step down like Snyder did after eight seasons at the helm of the Utah Jazz.

Whittigham called Snyder’s departure “sad” but also a happy moment if it was what the former Duke star really wanted.

“I don’t know him really well. I got a chance to interact with him a little bit,” Whittingham said. “But what a Heckuva trainer. I respect everything he did here. We will miss him. He will certainly have a lot of opportunities and people who will be after him, but it’s sad to see him go.”

Sitake, who is a huge NBA and Utah jazz fan and loves chatting to reporters about the sport during the breaks between formal interviews, said Snyder’s departure took him completely by surprise.

“I love jazz and I believe in their leadership, (owner) Ryan Smith and these guys,” Sitake said. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t know all the details behind it, except that we need a new coach.

“I’m really grateful for what Quin has done for the franchise,” he continued. “It was a lot of fun watching them play. I’m looking forward to the future too. …but as a jazz fan, I hope he knows we all appreciate him.”

The first Monday in June is a busy day for both Sitake and Whittingham as summer soccer camps begin for high schoolers and especially recruits on their respective campuses. Vetterli said it was “amazing” and “phenomenal” that the coaches continued to support the event, which is the envy of the other 50 or so NKF franchises across the country.

“It is always good to attend this event. It’s obviously for a good cause. And our team played well. So all good,” Whittingham said.

BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake listens to a question during a ceremony for the Coaches Legacy Golf Invitational at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

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