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BYU’s Sitake finalizes coaching staff with 3 more hires

Published: Thursday, Jan. 28 2016 2:45 p.m. MST

Former BYU player Reno Mahe watches during a scrimmage in Provo Friday, April 4, 2014. BYU alumni attended the scrimmage.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — BYU coach Kalani Sitake finalized his coaching staff Thursday, announcing the hiring of Jernaro Gilford as cornerbacks coach, Reno Mahe as running backs coach and Tevita Ofahengaue as the director of recruiting operations.

“I’m pleased to announce the final additions to the coaching staff and our director of recruiting,” Sitake said in a statement. “Jernaro was not only a great corner but also has done an excellent job as a coach developing young men into NFL-caliber players. Reno is energetic, loves BYU and brings NFL experience as a running back and return specialist. Tevita has excellent recruiting connections and is passionate about helping young men be successful.”

Sitake also formally announced the specified position responsibilities for his assistant coaches.

Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer will coach quarterbacks, Mike Empey the offensive line, Ben Cahoon receivers, Steve Clark tight ends and Mahe running backs. Assistant head coach Ed Lamb will serve as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach while defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki will coach linebackers, Steve Kaufusi defensive line and Gilford cornerbacks.

Gilford, a former BYU cornerback (1999-03), joins the Cougar staff after two years coaching the secondary under Lamb at Southern Utah.

“I feel blessed by the opportunities I’ve received both at SUU and now at BYU,” Gilford said. “SUU will always have a special place with me as the first Division I school to give me a chance to coach. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to come back to BYU, where I played college football, and contribute once again to such a great program.”

Gilford’s secondary at SUU was one of the best among FCS programs in 2015. The Thunderbird defense recorded 20 interceptions, good for No. 3 in the FCS. Southern Utah’s pass defense limited opposing teams to just a 102.5 pass efficiency rating.

Mahe, like Gilford, is a former Cougar. This will mark his first collegiate coaching job. Mahe played running back and served as a return specialist for the Philadelphia Eagles, amassing 1,600 return yards in his five seasons. Mahe led the NFL in punt return average in 2005 and played in Super Bowl XXXIX as a member of the 2004 NFC Championship team.

Mahe has coached at various football camps across the country since 2007, including the Ty Detmer Camp. Mahe serves on the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors and has served on the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors.

“It is very humbling to have this opportunity,” Mahe said. “I’m excited to return to this unique and great university, and I’m grateful for the chance to contribute to the BYU football program coaching running backs.”

Ofahengaue worked as the director of football operations for the Gridiron Classic College All-Star game from 2001-03 before serving as tight ends/running backs coach at Kahuku High School in Hawaii from 2003-05.

Ofahengaue worked at the University of Utah in 2005 as the assistant director of football operations, focusing on recruiting and served as a staff coordinator for the Hula Bowl College All-Star game in 2005-07. He has coached at several Utah high schools in various capacities on staff with Westlake, Lehi and most recently Orem, where he was the wide receivers coach from 2014-15.

“I’m extremely blessed and excited to be part of the BYU football program,” Ofahengaue said. “My job is to go get the best kids who will thrive here at BYU, and it’s truly an honor to be back at my alma mater.”

EMAIL: jeffc@deseretnews.com

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