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Utah football: Pease retires as Utes defensive coordinator, Scalley tabbed as replacement

SALT LAKE CITY — Morgan Scalley has been promoted to defensive coordinator at Utah. The longtime assistant and former All-American safety for the Utes replaces John Pease, who announced his retirement.

“Morgan has played an ever increasing role in our overall defensive scheming the past few seasons and is ready to take the reigns as the defensive coordinator,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a released statement. “He is bright, innovative and hard-working.”

Whittingham also had kind things to say about Pease. The 72-year-old was Utah’s defensive coordinator and defensive line coach last season.

“We appreciate the passion, energy and coaching expertise that John Pease brought to our program on a daily basis,” Whittingham said in the announcement. “While we completely understand his decision to retire, players and coaches alike are sorry to see him leave. Through the years, John has had a major impact on Utah football as a player, coach and longtime friend and advisor.”

Under Pease’s guidance, the Utes ranked among the Pac-12 leaders in pass efficiency defense, rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense. This is Pease’s second retirement from the program. After a lengthy career as an NFL assistant, he returned to his alma mater and coached from 2009-10.

Scalley, who has served as Utah’s safeties coach since 2008 and spent seven seasons as recruiting coordinator, added the title of special teams coordinator in 2015.

As a player, the Highland High School graduate was a second-team All-American and the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference while serving as a team captain on the Utes’ undefeated Fiesta Bowl championship team. He became a full-time coach in 2008 following one-year stints as an administrative assistant and defensive graduate assistant.

The Utes went 10-3 last season and defeated BYU 35-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl. They’re coming off their most successful Pac-12 campaign since joining the conference in 2011, going 6-3 in league play.

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