Morgan Scalley’s new contract comes with not only a raise, but a restoration of his “head coach in waiting” title.

Utah athletic director Mark Harlan announced Monday that the Utes’ defensive coordinator will succeed head coach Kyle Whittingham when he retires.

Scalley and Utah signed the new contract on Nov. 23, 2023, just weeks after USC fired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. According to reports from ESPN’s Pete Thamel and 247Sports’ Steve Bartle, the Trojans tried to hire Scalley away for the same position in Los Angeles, but the longtime Ute stayed put in Salt Lake City.

The agreement extends Scalley as defensive coordinator through 2027 — the same length that Whittingham’s current contract runs until — and increases Scalley’s base compensation this year to $2 million. That’s up from $1.4 million in a deal signed in 2022 and makes Scalley one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the nation, according to Thamel. Scalley is also scheduled to receive a $100,000 raise in 2025 and another in 2026.

Morgan Scalley named Kyle Whittingham’s successor at Utah

If Utah makes a bowl game, Scalley gets a bonus of one month of his current salary — $166,666 — and an additional $10,000 bonus if the Utes participate in the Big 12 championship game. Other benefits of the contract include a $600 per month car stipend and a membership to the Salt Lake Country Club.

The most intriguing part about the new agreement is a section titled “Head Coach Determination,” which “recognizes Coach Scalley as the likely replacement for Coach Whittingham upon Coach Whittingham’s retirement/termination from the University.”


“Should Coach Scalley be offered the Head Coach position, and accept that offer, the University will pay Coach Scalley the amount identified in the following chart pursuant to a new employment agreement with terms reasonably similar to those of other comparably qualified head football coaches in the Big 12,” the contract reads.

Scalley’s future head coach agreement will be a contract with a minimum of five years, with the minimum base salary — excluding inventive bonuses — depending on when Whittingham retires.

  • Now-Jan. 15, 2025: minimum of $5 million
  • Jan. 16, 2025–Jan. 15, 2026: minimum of $5.1 million
  • Jan. 16, 2026–Jan. 15, 2027: minimum of $5.2 million
  • Jan. 16, 2027-Jan. 15, 2028: minimum of $5.3 million
  • On or after Jan. 16, 2028: minimum of $5.4 million

Whittingham will be paid a $5 million base salary this season, per his last publicly available contract amendment, signed in 2022, making Scalley’s $5 million future head coaching contract in line with his current boss’s compensation. Whittingham’s base compensation will increase to $5,400,000 in 2025, $5,900,000 in 2026 and $6,500,000 in 2027.

Upon his retirement, Whittingham will serve as special assistant to the athletics director for five years, with a salary of $995,000 per year.

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