The Utah football program is mourning the death of former assistant coach John Pease.

Pease, 77, died Monday morning.

Coach Kyle Whittingham brought Pease out of retirement to coach for one season in 2015, which was Pease’s final season in coaching.

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Before that, Whittingham convinced Pease to come out of retirement to oversee the Utes’ defensive line from 2009-10.

“John Pease was one of my favorite people, ever,” Whittingham said in a statement. “He was my friend. It was an honor working with him, learning from him and knowing him. He impacted the lives of countless people and will be missed by all. The Utah Football family lost a great one and we send all our love and condolences to his wife, Chris, and his loved ones.”

Pease coached from 1986-2005 as an NFL assistant after serving 15 years as a college assistant from 1968-1982. 

He was the defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2001-02. His final two seasons in the NFL were with the New Orleans Saints as the defensive line coach.

Eight times Pease coached in the NFL playoffs, including the 1996 and 1999 AFC Championship games with Jacksonville.

“John Pease was such a treasured member of our Utah Athletics family, who continued to have a special presence around our football program after his retirement,” said athletic director Mark Harlan. “We extend our deepest sympathies to coach Pease’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”

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Pease, a Pittsburgh native, played at Utah from 1963-64 and received the team’s Most Inspirational Player award during his final season when the Utes posted a 9-2 record and won the Liberty Bowl. 

Before arriving at Utah, Pease played two seasons at Fullerton Community College and was a junior college All-American halfback in 1961 and linebacker in 1962. He earned a degree in physical education from Utah in 1964. 

Pease’s coaching career started at Utah as a graduate assistant from 1968-69. He coached the linebackers in 1977. 

Pease was the defensive line coach at Washington from 1978-82, during which time the Huskies went 46-13 and played in four bowl games. 

Washington played in back-to-back Rose Bowls, winning the 1982 game. 

John and his wife Chris, who is also a Utah alum, have two daughters and four grandsons.