What if you had an average year at work. You weren’t great but not completely mediocre either. But at the end of the year you were working on a proposal for a big client that was supposedly a slam dunk. Then when it came to making the final presentation–you blew it. You choked and lost the business causing your company to miss out on their sales goal for the year. So do you think after that you would still deserve a raise and a guaranteed extra year of employment? I’m guessing no.
Good thing the sports world works under different parameters right? Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham’s season was very similar to the real world scenario above. But for him it equated into a $300,000 raise and an extra year on his contract. Of course it didn’t hurt that he had some leverage with Arizona State and Penn State supposedly interested in him filling their vacant jobs.
The first season in the Pac-12 for Whittingham was average, maybe slightly above average at best. His team almost won on the road early in the season against USC. They hammered their rival BYU and got a quality win over UCLA. However they were embarrassed by Washington, Arizona State and Cal. They won against the league teams they were supposed to beat in Oregon State, Arizona, Washington State and…Colorado. Oops. That’s where things turned sour. The Colorado game was the slam dunk final presentation that Utah blew. Whittingham didn’t have his team ready to play against the worst team in the conference at home and it cost them a shot at one of their ultimate goals–a Pac-12 Championship.
In the Mountain West Conference Whittingham was considered a great coach. After year one in the Pac-12 you would have to consider him just solid. That’s what happens when your competition is better week in and week out. Now whether he can move back into the “great” category time will tell, but clearly it won’t be easy. The schedule will only get harder once the likes of Oregon and Stanford are added into the mix (Utah avoided both this season). Plus mediocre programs like Arizona and Washington State are expected to improve due to the addition of big name successful coaches.
In these tough economic times I don’t fault anyone for going after more money when they can get it. But with more cash also comes higher expectations. Now that Whittingham has once again gotten a raise the expectations must now rise and if he fails to live up to those he must be held accountable. After all that’s the way it works in the real world.
Agree or disagree sound off in the comments section below. Kevin Graham is the Co-Founder of Sports Mashup and regularly covered Utah as a sports talk radio host in Salt Lake City. He can also be followed on twitter @KevinGraham1280 and you can email him at [email protected]. Feel free to get interactive and like Sports Mashup on Facebook.