Earlier today, multiple reports indicated that Seattle Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell is "not available" and won't be an option for BYU, which would seemingly limit the head coaching search to three candidates: Oregon State DC Kalani Sitake, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, and current BYU OC Robert Anae.
But according to a recent report from Jay Drew at the Salt Lake Tribune, another name could still potentially get in this race. That's right, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.
From the Tribune:
Meanwhile, The Tribune has learned that BYU reached out to Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, a former BYU linebacker, almost immediately after Mendenhall's resignation on Friday to gauge his interest, and he said then that he will listen.
Whittingham was asked after Utah's practice Tuesday night whether Holmoe has talked to him about the vacancy. He smiled and said he never comments on such matters.
Drew immediately hedges and says this is a long shot, in particular because of Whittingham's salary. Whittingham is paid around $2.6 Million at Utah, and per Drew, BYU is prepared to go "as high as $2 million" and probably much less than that if they aren't hiring a sitting FBS head coach.
Coming up with the money to pry Whittingham away with a raise would require some major digging into BYU donor pockets, plus a bit of a change in how BYU has traditionally operated.
Whittingham and BYU AD Tom Holmoe are friends (they played together at BYU), and one can understand why Whittingham might at least listen to an offer. After all, his relationship with Utah AD Chris Hill went south in a public way last offseason, and Whittingham played at BYU.
He's also far and away the most accomplished potential candidate for BYU, with a 93-46 record at Utah. He's turned down Provo before, but could he change his mind the second time around?
It's not likely, but the first step to this happening is Whittingham actually listening to an offer, and it seems they're at least at that level. This search could get a lot more interesting.