Cue the Clash….
It’s getting to be decision time for Utah Defensive Coordinator Kalani Sitake. Will Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl against Colorado State be the final game on the Utah sidelines for one of the best defensive minds in College Football? This is the question on the minds of Utah Football fans and I’m sure Sitake himself…
Utah’s decision not to re-up their Defensive Coordinator may end up costing them. Sitake is now a free agent with options. His longtime friend, Gary Andersen, is in need of someone to run his defense at Oregon State. Sitake and Anderson are extremely close and I’ve been told that Sitake is considering this as a “real” option. His ability to run a championship caliber defense and as a top notch recruiter make Sitake a hot commodity at Oregon State, especially with the Beavers history of having Polynesian players in their program.
Of course, Utah will make it’s pitch to keep Sitake too. Utah AD Dr. Chris Hill told me on Tuesday afternoon that keeping Sitake at Utah was a top priority. Sitake is loyal and very much tied to the Utah Football program and family. He’s told me repeatedly that he loves where he is and the kids that he’s brought to Utah. The question is, does he feel in any way disrespected by the fact that it’s taken so long to get a new contract done with the school he’s worked for for almost a decade.
There’s no doubt wherever he decides to coach next season, he will be receiving a major bump in pay. He’s making $500K now and will likely command somewhere in the $750k to $1 million dollar range. Utah can afford that kind of salary bump and frankly he deserves it with what his defensive unit has done this season. Can Oregon State? Last season they paid DC Mark Banker $505K, he’s now at Nebraska with Mike Riley. One of the reasons that Gary Andersen left Wisconsin was a lack of financial support for his staff. I would think that had to have been part of his new deal at Oregon State.
Ultimately, Sitake would like to be a Head Coach. It appeared for a while as if that opportunity might come this off season with a number of openings around College Football. Two jobs that would be good fits don’t look promising right now. Utah State’s Matt Wells appears for now to be staying put in Logan and Utah’s bowl opponent this week Colorado State hasn’t had Sitake linked publicly at all. While he wants to run his own program, I don’t think Kalani Sitake jumps for just any Head Coaching job. His platform as a premiere Pac 12 Defensive Coordinator will provide more opportunities down the line, plus he’s still just 39 years old.
It’s always good to have options and Sitake certainly does right now. He’ll likely make his decision soon after the bowl game on Saturday. So as the game with Colorado State comes to an end on Saturday, it’s likely that those Punk Rock lyrics will run through Utah Fans minds….
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