Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sun Bowl 2011

Utah played Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.  It was a fun week with a lot of good food.  Game day arrived and it was sunny and beautiful!  I have loved watching Tyler play with the Utes.  He put his all into it, and I am so proud of him!  I have loved every minute of watching him. 
Tyler, #36, preparing for the kick off
Tyler on the far right
It was a great game and we had a bunch of kick offs, Tyler on the far right
Jason, Trevor, Melissa, Kyle, Kylie, Ashley, Brittany, and Tyler after the game
Patrick, Matt, me, and Dad
Final Score

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All in the Family

Utah Utes football: Kyle Whittingham relishes opportunity to coach his son

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 28 2011 9:31 p.m. MST
Kyle Whittingham hugs his son, Tyler Whittingham on Senior Day. Whittingham may coach another son if his youngest, Alex Whittingham, plays. (Kory Mortensen/University of Utah) Kyle Whittingham hugs his son, Tyler Whittingham on Senior Day. Whittingham may coach another son if his youngest, Alex Whittingham, plays. (Kory Mortensen/University of Utah)
EL PASO, Texas —
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham recalls, with great fondness, the last time he played football for his father. Fred Whittingham was BYU's defensive coordinator when Kyle capped off his collegiate career with MVP honors in the 1981 Holiday Bowl.
"It was very emotional in a lot of ways," Kyle acknowledged.
Now, 30 years later, roles have been reversed.
Saturday's Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech marks the final game that Kyle will get to coach his son, Tyler. The younger Whittingham is a special teams contributor for the Utes.
"First of all, I'm proud of him for what his contribution has been to our team. He's an extremely hard worker, does whatever is asked of him," Kyle said. "It's been a great experience for me. I know what he's going through because I did the same thing. It's not easy. It's not the easiest thing in the world to be the coach's son."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's son, Tyler, a senior, who is a special teams player for the Utes. (University of Utah Athletics) Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's son, Tyler, a senior, who is a special teams player for the Utes. (University of Utah Athletics)
There's some extra responsibilities that come with it, explained the coach, because his expectations of him are very high — just like they are for all of the players.
"But you don't want to be the coach's son that screws up," Kyle said. "You don't want to be that guy."
Tyler has never been that guy.
The former starter at Brighton High and state power-lifting champion joined the team as a walk-on in 2009 after serving an LDS Church mission in Brazil. Following a redshirt year, Whittingham has appeared in 20 games over the past two seasons — making seven tackles (five solo).
"It's been a good ride the whole time — even though I knew coming into it that I wasn't going to play much," Tyler said. "My goal was to make the kickoff team and I'm grateful for every chance that I got."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's son, Tyler, a senior, who is a special teams player for the Utes. (University of Utah Athletics) Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's son, Tyler, a senior, who is a special teams player for the Utes. (University of Utah Athletics)
The mass communication major considers it all a bonus, of sorts.
"Actually everything after high school for me has just been a nice little bonus," Tyler said. "I've been able to spend some time with my dad, with the family, with my team and it's been a really good learning experience."
Part of the educational process has been getting to know how his father operates at work.
"I never knew 'Coach Whit' until I played," Tyler said. "But I'm just proud of him and he's proved to me that hard work pays off."
Tyler used to be his dad's "cord guy," back when coaching headsets weren't wireless. He also visited practice regularly and went to the games while growing up, giving him an idea of what it might be like to play for his father.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's son, Tyler, a senior, is a special teams player for the Utes. (University of Utah Athletics, ) Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's son, Tyler, a senior, is a special teams player for the Utes. (University of Utah Athletics, )
"He's got a tough job but I think he handles it well," Tyler said while praising his father's hard work and dedication.
Football, though, isn't something Kyle brings home. Tyler insists his dad is just a "regular guy" away from work.
"I try to keep that separate. I try to, as best I can, leave the football aspect of it at the office. The main reason I do that is my father did the same thing," Kyle said. "When I was playing for him I was living at home, he was very good about that and I learned that from him."
As such, Tyler noted there was no pressure to follow in the family footsteps and play football. Although he was one of the better players at Brighton, Tyler readily admits he wasn't a Division I player. He's had to work hard to get there.
"In my family, there's never pressure to succeed," Tyler said. "You're only expected to do your best and as long as you're doing your best — no matter what happens — you can be satisfied with the results."
Being together in the football program for the past three years is something the Whittinghams value greatly.
"It's obviously very important," Kyle said. "It's been a great experience with him."
On the field, though, the father and son relationship becomes a coach and player situation.
"That's the way it has to be. You have to treat all your players the same within reason," Kyle said. "You treat players the way they deserve to be treated. That's an old John Wooden axiom, but as far as the expectations — what we demand and what we require — it's all the same."
Even so, the end of that era will be emotional for both Whittinghams. It almost came to an end a year ago. Tyler was going to graduate last spring, but opted to take a couple of more classes this fall.
"This is kind of the bonus round for me," Tyler said. "I was sad last year because I didn't think I was coming back this year."
Tyler's impending departure, however, may not be the last time Whittingham could have a son on the team. His youngest boy, Alex, is currently serving a mission in New Zealand. He was a starting linebacker at Brighton but tore his ACL in the first game of his senior season.
"I'm hoping he opts to play when he gets home," Kyle said. "I hope so, but we'll see."
Email: Twitter: @DirkFacer

Monday, December 26, 2011

El Paso, Texas here we come!

This is our first time going to the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.  We had a great time as a family being with the Utah Football Team.  We left Salt Lake City on Monday, the 26th.  We flew with all the families and players, players wives and children.  The coaches kids always have fun together.  Now that my children are basically the oldest kids, they have fun with the younger families on the staff.
Kylie studying the program
Tyler chillin before take off
Kalani, Timberly, and KK

Jay Hill and Sara making a face at me for taking the picture

Jay and Sara Hill
Players being greeted as they get off the plane

Kyle with Sombrero 

After we went to our hotel we met the other team for dinner and had a friendly talent show with them.

Kyle's dinner plate

Jamie's dinner plate

Kylie and Tyler with Jason, Kristi and Aaron

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

This year for Christmas was sad with Alex not there, but we were able to talk to him on the phone for a couple hours.  So that was the best Christmas present for ever.  In New Zealand, where Alex is serving, it is 20 hours ahead so he called on the day after for Christmas for him.  I had mailed him a mini Christmas tree and presents in November so he received everything in time for Christmas.
We decided we would get up at 8:00 AM, so Melissa and Dawson slept at their own place then came over.  Tyler stayed at our house on Christmas Eve. So it was great to have the family there.
Elder Saunders and Elder Whittingham Christmas Card from Hamilton, New Zealand
Melissa and Dawson Christmas morning
Kylie Christmas morning
Tyler on Christmas morning
It was a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

We did our annual Christmas Eve with the Whittingham's and the kids did the Nativity.  My dad, Matt and Kristi came over also.  I missed Alex!  Fred and his family are in California.  It is always good eats when we get together.
Jason, Taya, Dawson, Melissa, Matt
Tyler and Kristi
Whittingham grandkids (missing-Alex, Ashley, Sam, Rachel)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

My birthday this year landed on a recruiting weekend, Kyle was busy with recruits so I got to have dinner at Market Street with some family and friends too.  I usually go to the recruiting dinners but this time Tyler, Melissa, and Dawson went to eat at Market Street too and were able to sit with me.
Tyler, Dawson, Melissa, me, Kyle
 I also bravely let Melissa practice her IV starting skills on me.  She got it on the first attempt luckily.
Melissa and I

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Colorado at Utah

Utah 14  Colorado 17      

This was the last game of the regular season, the last home game of the year.  We were expected to win this game but did not play as expected.  It is heart breaking to lose a game.  To some fans or people outside of sports it may seem like just a football game.  No one on the outside can really understand all the hours put into film, practice, film, meetings, film.........Sometimes they don't have time to come home.
For those late nights.
On nights when work went very late, Kyle would sleep right here.  Alex would come up and sleep on the couch on those nights.  He would watch film with Kyle and spend what extra time they could before Alex went on his mission. They would lay there in the dark and listen to Twilight Zone Episodes on the radio as they fell asleep. 
Before the game started, the Seniors were announced and the parents of the players were on the field.  Tyler is a senior and came out when they announced his name.  We are so proud of him, for how hard he has worked to be part of the team.  It has been so fun watching him on the kick off team during the games.  And it has been a great experience for Kyle and Tyler to work together.  
Tyler running on to the field for the last time.

Tyler giving me a hug before the game.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving this year was a little different.  It was the day before game day for Kyle so he had to spend the evening at the Hotel with the team.  
They had a Thanksgiving dinner at the hotel so we went to eat with Kyle and the team.
Melissa and I at the Hotel for the Thanksgiving meal

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Utah at Washington State

Utah 30  Washington State 27

The trip to this game became a brother's trip for Kyle.  Fred had never been on a road trip with the team, Brady and Cary both have.   They all came and had a great time.
Dinner on arrival at hotel.  Kyle, Cary, Brady, Fred.
The weather forecast was for cold and snow, so I brought all my best Under Armour stuff, snow pants and all.  It was snowing when we arrived and continued off and on until the game was over.  I don't know if I have ever had that much snow pile up on me as I sat there.  So it snowed pretty hard the second half of the game.
Helen, Brittany, Kris, Jamie-very prepared for snow.
Tyler #36 on kickoff
Tyler #36 another kickoff in 2nd half
Luckily we were prepared, it did not feel cold at all
It was a great trip for the brothers!
 Everything is better when you win!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Say Good Bye, New Zealand Says Hello

On October 26th Alex left home to enter the MTC in Provo, on November 14 he left the MTC,  he is on his way to New Zealand.  I think Missions are such a mixed blessing.  What a great service for Alex to leave home for 2 years to go and Serve the Lord, but oh how we miss each other!  Two years just seems like such a long time when it is looming before you.  We look forward to every letter and every phone call from him.  He loves Max, he is 12 years old and Alex hopes he will still be alive when he gets home, they are having a few words before he leaves.
Alex and Max, talking it over.
Kyle, Alex, Jamie saying goodbye
Last time together for a few years.  Melissa, Alex, Kylie, and Tyler
Alex and Tyler with the MTC District 8
Elders on their way, SLC Airport
Alex with Mission President and his wife in Auckland, New Zealand

Sunday, November 13, 2011

UCLA comes to Utah

Utah 31  UCLA 6      

After 5 rainy games last season I can handle a few snowy ones this year.  Sitting in the rain is the worst!  So it was cold but I came with hand warmers in tow.  With this win, we became Bowl eligible for the 9th straight season, our first with the PAC-12.  I miss seeing Alex on the sidelines.   He had his usual corner by the team where he would stand, his lucky spot.
Kyle would rather be wearing his shorts.
After singing 'Utah Man', Kyle High-5's the Muss fans.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Utah at Arizona

Utah 34  Arizona 21  

We went to Tucson for the Arizona game.  My brother Patrick and his family drove from Mesa over to the game. We don't get to see them often enough.  They are great Utah Fans,  love the family support we get!
Shelly, Demi, Alex, Cody, and Patrick
Utes Pre-Game
Helen with me in Tucson.  It was a little chilly, plus we are whimps!
After every game, win or lose, the team comes to the fans in the stadium and sings the Utah Man song.