Utah Utes football: Tuiaki officially joins Ute staff

Published: Monday, Feb. 27 2012 3:00 p.m. MST

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah graduate assistant Ilaisa Tuiaki, who has spent the past three years at Utah State, is the Utes' new fullbacks and tight ends coach. An official announcement was made Monday afternoon.

"Ilaisa did a great job for us when he was here as a graduate assistant and we are pleased to have him back on our staff," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a released statement. "He is a high-energy, enthusiastic coach that has an excellent rapport with the players."

Tuiaki's previous stint with the Utes came in 2008 when worked with the strong side linebackers on the Sugar Bowl championship team.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to be back coaching at Utah," Tuiaki said in the announcement. "Coaching in the Pac-12 is a challenge I'm looking forward to and it's a step up for me professionally.

"I feel like I can hit the ground running at Utah. I have good relationships with the coaching staff, especially Aaron Roderick, Kalani Sitake and Dan Finn, who were all coaching at SUU when I played there. I am excited to work for Brian Johnson, who impressed me with his leadership as the quarterback on the 2008 Sugar Bowl team. I loved working for Coach Whittingham as a graduate assistant and this job is a natural fit for me."

Tuiaki was the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Utah State. Under his direction, the Aggies topped the Western Athletic Conference in rushing with 282.7 yards per game, ranking sixth nationally. Junior running back Robert Turbin ran for 1,517 yards and was named the 2011 WAC Offensive Player of the Year.

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