SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah-BYU rivalry was put on hold Monday for a good cause.
Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham and BYU head coach Kalani Sitake teamed up in the 31st annual fundraising golf tournament at Hidden Valley Country Club in Sandy to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho.
“It’s a great time,” Whittingham said. “It’s a great time and a great cause. We’ve been supporting this for a lot of years, and it’s great to be a part of it this year.”
Going back to the days of Jim Fassel and LaVell Edwards, to Ron McBride, Urban Meyer, Gary Crowton, Bronco Mendenhall and now Whittingham and Sitake, this has always been an event near and dear to the hearts of the rivalry’s coaches.
“I think for Kyle and me, it’s being able to see the past coaches that have played in this and being a part of that brotherhood that have come through,” Sitake said. “When I was an assistant at Utah, I played in this tournament, not very well. But it’s been nice to be in the same foursome as Kyle and it’s been a lot of fun.”
These great friends get together quite a bit during the off-season, but less than three months away from the Utah-BYU game on August 29th, so they won’t be hanging out together much longer.
“We’ll get together a few more times this summer,” Whittingham said. “Once we both get into season mode and the grind starts, you get your head down and you just go.”
As competitive as they are on the football field, how competitive are they on the golf course?
“We’re actually very supportive of each other, just like we are in the season except for the one game,” Sitake said. “It’ll be nice to play him in that one game and then support him in the other eleven. I know he’ll be supporting his alma mater in the other eleven also.”
“There you go,” said Whittingham, a BYU graduate.
Whittingham is the more experienced golfer, but he’s been impressed by Sitake’s game.
“He is much improved,” Whittingham said.
“Kyle is way better than I am, but I’m working on it,” Sitake added. “Nobody is interested in seeing us get better at golf right now.”
More than 468,000 Americans with kidney disease are receiving kidney dialysis treatment to stay alive, while more than 91,000 Americans die each year due to kidney disease.
To donate to the National Kidney Foundation of Utah and Idaho, go to www.KidneyUT.org.