Freddie Whittingham: Coach On and Off the Field


Freddie Whittingham talks to two football players. (Courtesy of Fred Whittingham, Jr.)

By Ethan Pearce, Sports Editor


Plenty of former University of Utah football players end up in the NFL, making the jump from dreams to reality. 

The development of a young athlete into a professional takes time, effort and focus. Of course, it takes drive on the part of the player to work hard and accomplish their goals. It also takes a strong infrastructure and support from their family and friends. 

A successful athlete is also made in the classroom. Utah’s student-athletes know they are expected to be great on and off the field. The U is full of coaches and mentors that help its student-athletes succeed in many areas of life — Freddie Whittingham is one of them.

Freddie Whittingham is the tight end coach for the Utah football program, and the brother of Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. He also serves as the recruiting coordinator, and was previously the director of player personnel from 2012-15.

“My favorite part about coaching is being able to have a part in shaping the direction of the lives of the young men that we get in this program,” Freddie Whittingham said. “Not only teach them football skills, and how to be a better football player, but also how to be a better human being. To pursue their education, to give back to the community … hopefully become good husbands and fathers, and all the rest.”

College is a key part in someone’s life, and Freddie Whittingham understands his role as a coach and mentor for the young men that come through the football program every year.

“It extends from football to education and life experiences as well,” he said. “If you gain their trust by being consistent, and they understand and feel that you have their best interests at heart, and that your job as a coach is to help them achieve all of their hopes and dreams and goals, then they will trust what you have to say, and the advice that you may give them. Not just in football, but in other areas as well.”

Freddie Whittingham. (Courtesy of Fred Whittingham, Jr.)

The relationship from player to coach is an important one for any team, and Freddie Whittingham puts a lot of work into developing that with each of his players. It’s a key component to helping young athletes find success on the field and in their personal lives.

“That relationship that you build, based on trust, based on consistency, based on having a sincere desire to see them be happy and enjoy their experience, I think is really the foundation of what it means as a coach to help them out,” he said. “Not just in football, but with their academics, and with their social lives, and everything else that is a part of their time here at Utah.”

Freddie Whittingham noticed that those students who tend to excel on the field all have something in common: they’re motivated to succeed in all areas of life. 

“How you do one thing is how you do everything,” he said. “I think that the players that are succeeding academically, they have their act together. They’re taking care of their business, and that will extend to football as well, and to other areas of their life.”

For Fall 2021, Utah Football had 33 players qualify for the academic honor roll, according to Utah Athletics. The hard work of those students, backed up by the mentorship and support of their coaches, allowed for this achievement.

“We play football at a level at Utah that it’s a very realistic goal for our players to have the NFL in mind as a career when they finish their time here, and that happens for a lot of our players,” He said. “No matter who you are, football is going to end at some point … you’re going to have the rest of your life to build [your career], and so you need to be prepared for it, and the foundation of that is your degree here at Utah.”

Players hope to be successful at the sport they come here to play, but there will always be opportunity for achievement in many other areas of life. Freddie Whittingham and the rest of Utah’s coaches plan to help as many players as they can find success in all aspects of their life during their time at the U. 


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