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BYU football coach Kalani Sitake agrees to ‘new, unprecedented’ contract

Sitake has garnered interest from other major programs after leading the Cougars to 21 wins over the last two seasons, but he is staying in Provo for the foreseeable future

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Brigham Young Cougars coach Kalani Sitake celebrates a field goal in a game against the Utah State Aggies.

Brigham Young Cougars coach Kalani Sitake celebrates a field goal in a game against the Utah State Aggies in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Sitake and BYU agreed to a contract extension Friday.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Kalani Sitake has been a wanted man during this year’s college football coaching carousel, but he will remain as the BYU Cougars’ head coach for the foreseeable future.

On Friday, the school announced that it and Sitake have agreed to a “new, unprecedented” contract that is primed to keep him at BYU through the 2027 season.

“In recent days and weeks there has been a lot of movement among college football head coaches,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “Today, I’m thrilled to know that Kalani will continue to be our leader, coach and mentor going forward.

“In the past 50 years, BYU has had only four head football coaches. Consistency, creativity and culture have been our hallmarks. Kalani will continue to strengthen our football team culture and develop young leaders based on his emphasis of ‘love and learning.’ I’m grateful for Kalani and the Sitake family for their commitment to BYU.”

Said Sitake in a statement: “I am grateful for the confidence that Tom Holmoe, (university) President (Kevin) Worthen and the administration continue to have in my role leading the BYU football program.

“As both a former player and a BYU fan, it is an honor to be the head coach at this great university. I am blessed to lead a football program full of tremendous young men, outstanding coaches and staff and the best fans in the world. We’re all excited about the opportunities ahead as we prepare to enter the Big 12.”

Sitake, 46, was widely considered a potential candidate to become the head coach at both USC and Washington after those schools fired Clay Helton and Jimmy Lake, respectively.

Then this week, The Oregonian’s John Canzano reported that Sitake interviewed for the job at Oregon that opened when Mario Cristobal left for Miami.

Canzano had written earlier Friday that, “I didn’t get the impression the Ducks were wild about this one. The whisper is that either Sitake didn’t interview well or expressed some hesitation about leaving BYU. I would be surprised if he’s the pick for this reason but we’ve seen stranger 180-degree twists.”

Sitake had become a candidate of interest for various schools thanks to the fact that he has led the Cougars to two straight 10-win seasons, and it will be two consecutive years of 11 victories if they beat the UAB Blazers in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 18.

In a preview of the coaching carousel in late November, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman identified Sitake sixth on a list of 33 coaches to watch.

“He’s done an excellent job in Provo, Utah,” Feldman wrote. “The 46-year-old knows the Pac-12 well from a decade with the Utes and some time at Oregon State. Sitake’s teams are physical, tough and smart, and he’s got very strong West Coast recruiting ties.

“Sitake is 20-3 in the past two seasons and 4-0 against Pac-12 teams this season. He’s coaching at his alma mater and BYU is poised to increase its profile by moving into the Big 12, but he’s one of the lower-paid coaches in the Top 25 and might be interested in listening to Washington and USC if they come after him hard.”

In six years at the helm of the BYU program, Sitake has a record of 48-28. Five of those campaigns were winning seasons, and he has a bowl record of 3-1.