Utah State head football coach Matt Wells announced Wednesday the hiring of Aggie alumnus Waqa Damuni as an assistant athletics director for football operations. In his role, Damuni will handle the day-to-day operations of the football program.
“Waqa brings many years of Division I experience working with student-athletes to our program,” Wells said. “He is knowledgeable and demonstrates great attention to detail in all that he does. That fact that he is a former Aggie football student-athlete is only a bonus and I am confident that Waqa will continue to help move this program forward with great efficiency. We are excited to welcome Waqa and his family back to Utah State.”
Damuni, a former tight end and three-year letterwinner at Utah State from 1996-98, helped the Aggies win back-to-back Big West Conference Championships, including a trip to the inaugural Humanitarian Bowl in 1997.
“I’m extremely excited to be back at Utah State,” Damuni said. “I would like to thank Athletics Director Scott Barnes and coach Wells for giving me this opportunity. Anytime you get a chance to work at your alma mater, it makes it special, and I do hold a special place in my heart for Cache Valley and Utah State University. I look forward to working with coach Wells, the staff and our student-athletes, as we continue to build on the success of this football program both on the field and in the classroom.”
Damuni returns to USU after spending the past five years as an associate director of academic support at the University of Arkansas.
In all, Damuni has spent the past 10 years as an academic coordinator for student-athletes at the Division I level at Arkansas, Colorado and Memphis, tracking NCAA initial and continuing eligibility, coordinating the academic affairs for football student-athletes, and assisting the coaching staff with recruiting and day-to-day operations.
Damuni was also a counselor for the State of Utah-Juvenile Justice Services in Logan from 2001-2003, serving in different capacities including detention, family crisis intervention and community outreach services. He also served as the liaison between the Juvenile Justice Services and the Hispanic community in the Cache Valley area. He is fluent in Spanish after serving a two-year LDS Church mission in Monterrey, Mexico.
Damuni, who began his collegiate career at Dixie State in St. George, Utah, earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Utah State as he received his bachelor's of arts degree in sociology in 1998 with minors in social work and Spanish. He went on to earn a master's degree in business information systems in 2005.
A 2010 graduate of the NCAA Leadership for Ethnic and Minority Institute, Damuni is also a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics.
A native of Laie, Hawaii, Damuni is married to the former Val Tonga of Millbrae, Calif. They have seven children — Emosi, Levani, Junior, Jovesa, Lavinia, Lusiana and Damien.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.