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Alex Santiago, DSU Marketing and Communication
Dixie State football head coach Paul Peterson poses for his 2019 headshot.

Dixie State football head coach Paul Peterson has finalized his coaching staff for the 2019 season.

Peterson added four coaches on the defensive side of the ball, including Tyler Almond, Loni Fangupo, Misi Tupe and Mike Smith. Offensively, three new coaches joined the staff, including John Hughes, JD Falslev and Peter Tuitupou. Additionally, Mike Fassel will serve as director of football operations and coach special teams.

"I am very excited about our coaching staff," Peterson said. "These men are great leaders, mentors and teachers. They have played or coached at the highest levels of football. They know what kind of hard work it takes to build a championship team and culture."

Almond will serve as defensive coordinator and coach the safeties. He brings more than 11 years of coaching experience to St. George, including seven years at the NCAA Division I FCS level.

He comes to Dixie State after two seasons as head coach and assistant athletic director at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California. In two seasons as head coach, Almond posted a 15-9 record and led the Falcons to the 2017 Capital Athletic League Championship and to California Interscholastic Federation playoff appearances in both years. Additionally, Almond sent three players to Division I programs and was named 2017 Capital Athletic League Coach of the Year.

Prior to his time at CBHS, Almond spent six years as an assistant coach at Division I FCS Sacramento State where he served as linebackers coach (2012-17) and assistant defensive line coach (2011-12). During his time as linebackers coach, Almond coached seven All-Big Sky honorees and three All-America selections. As an assistant defensive line coach, Almond helped produce an additional All-Big Sky honor and another All-America selection.

Before his time at Sacramento State, he served two years (2008-10) as the running backs coach at Sierra College where he helped lead the program to the 2009 Valley Conference Championship.

Almond began his coaching career at Christian Brothers High School where he coached linebackers, running backs and special teams from 2006-08. He was also in charge of opponent scouting and assisted in the strength and conditioning for the Falcons.

He graduated from Sacramento State with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology in 2009. He earned his master's degree in athletic administration from Concordia-Irvine in 2014.

Fangupo will serve as defensive line coach. He comes to Dixie State after two years (2016-18) as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator under current DSU head coach Paul Peterson at Snow College. The Badgers posted an 18-4 record during Fangupo's time as defensive line coach, including a victory in the 2017 El Toro Bowl. Additionally, Fangupo coached four All-WSFL honorees in his two seasons.

Prior to his time at Snow College, Fangupo served as a student intern at BYU (2015-16) where he assisted with the defensive line.

He played at the highest level of professional and collegiate football. He spent three years in the National Football League, playing for the Kansas City Chiefs (2014-15), Pittsburgh Steelers (2013-14), Seattle Seahawks (2012-13) and the Houston Texans (2012).

Prior to his time in the NFL, Fangupo played collegiately at BYU (2010-11), USC (2009-10) and Mount San Antonio Junior College (2007-09).

Fangupo graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology from BYU in 2016.

Tupe will serve as linebackers coach. He comes to Dixie State after three seasons (2016-18) on the defensive staff at Snow College. He joined the staff in 2016 as linebackers and secondary coach before being promoted to associate head coach and defensive coordinator in 2017. In 2018, Tupe remained as defensive coordinator and again assumed the role of linebackers coach.

The Badgers posted a 26-5 record in Tupe's three seasons on the sidelines and claimed a victory in the 2017 El Toro Bowl. Tupe coached five All-WSFL honorees and two All-Americans, including the 2017 NJCAA Defensive Player of the Year.

Prior to his time at Snow College, he served as linebackers coach at Pine View High School (2015) and Snow Canyon High School (2014).

Tupe first coached at Dixie State as linebackers coach from 2008-12 under former coaches Ron Haun and Scott Brumfield.

Before joining the coaching ranks, Tupe enjoyed an illustrious college football career. He played his freshman and sophomore (2004-05) seasons at Dixie State in its final years as a junior college, earning first-team All-WSFL and NJCAA All-Region honors. Additionally, Tupe was a finalist for the 2005 NJCAA National Player of the Year award.

He played two seasons (2006-07) at Texas A&M where he finished with 151 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and one interception. Tupe earned Big XII Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors in 2006 and Team Defensive MVP honors in 2007. He earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in 2008.

Smith will serve as cornerbacks coach. He comes to Dixie State after spending the 2018 season as a defensive analyst at BYU where he helped analyze and break down offensive and defensive coaching strategies, developed assessments and recommendations on athletes' recruitment and aided in the development of coaching and practice sessions.

Prior to his time at BYU, Smith served three years (2015-18) as a football strength and conditioning graduate assistant at Oregon State where, among many duties, he helped coach all concepts of the OSU football strength and conditioning program.

After an exceptional career as running back at Utah State (2009-11), Smith was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent two years in the NFL with the Buccaneers and the New York Jets, before a brief stint with the Ottawa Redbacks of the Canadian Football League in 2014.

Smith earned bachelor's degrees in finance and economics at Utah State in 2012, followed by a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies at Oregon State in 2017.

Hughes will serve as offensive line coach. He comes to Dixie State after serving as offensive line coach at Western Colorado during the 2018 season.

Prior to Western State, Hughes served two years (2016-18) as a graduate assistant on the offensive line at the University of Colorado where he helped the Buffaloes to their most wins since 2001 during the 2016 season.

At CU, Hughes oversaw all breakdowns of opponents' defensive schemes, specializing in their front seven, stunts and pressures. Along with various other duties, Hughes prepared weekly scouting reports, oversaw individual position drill work with the offensive line and assisted in the recruitment of offensive linemen.

Hughes joined CU after a stint at the University of Akron, serving as a graduate assistant on defense who worked with the linebackers for the 2015 season. The previous two years (2013-14), he was a defensive assistant and the assistant defensive line coach for Sacramento State University.

He started his coaching career at his alma mater, Humboldt State University, where he was the tight ends coach in 2012.

He graduated with his bachelor's degree in communication from Humboldt State in 2012, earning All-GNAC Academic Team honors his junior and senior years. He was a three-year starter on the offensive line after starting his collegiate career at Western Washington. He earned his master's degree in sport science and coaching administration at Akron in May 2016.

Falslev will serve as wide receivers coach. He comes to Dixie State after four seasons on the offensive staff at BYU, serving as an offensive analyst during the 2018 season after three seasons (2015-18) as an offensive graduate assistant.

He played four seasons (2010-13) at BYU, where he was a three-time first-team All-Independent punt return honoree and a second-team All-Independent wide receiver. Falslev was also selected as a team captain as a senior in 2013. Following his time at BYU, Falslev had a brief stint with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2014.

Falslev earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and wellness at BYU in April 2013.

Tuitupou will serve as running backs coach. He comes to Dixie State after two years (2016-18) as a graduate assistant at the University of Colorado where he assisted with the tight ends, offensive line and special teams.

He made the move to CU from private business, as he was working as a sales manager for a solar company in California for two years. Previously, he spent the 2013 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League after signing as an undrafted free agent.

Tuitupou graduated with his bachelor's degree in communication studies from San Jose State University in 2012, where he lettered twice at tight end for coach Mike MacIntyre, who was the Spartans' coach at the time. He was primarily a blocker in SJSU's offensive scheme, catching 14 passes for 183 yards (13.1 per) in his career, which also saw him be named twice to the Academic All-Western Athletic Conference team. He played in San Jose State's 29-21 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl as a senior.

He played two seasons at Snow College (2007-08) where he was named a first-team All-American as a sophomore when he caught 21 passes for 251 yards (11.9 per) and four touchdowns.

Fassel will serve as director of football operations and special teams coach. He comes to Dixie State from Snow College where he spent the 2017 season as the director of football operations, as well as serving as the wide receivers and special teams coach for the Badgers. Fassel brings several years of experience in football operations with him after serving previous stints at Princeton University and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

Prior to working at both the collegiate and professional level, Fassel spent his playing days as a three-year starter and letterwinner as both a kicker and holder at Boston College where he graduated in 2004 before earning his master's degree in the summer of 2005.

After completing his collegiate career at Boston College, Fassel was hired as the director of football operations and cecruiting Coordinator for Princeton University. In that role, he was responsible for the overall operation of the football program, while he also assisted the special teams coordinator with coaching the specialists. In nearly three years with the program, Fassel coordinated all meals, campus housing, team travel and recruiting weekends while also serving as an assistant camp director for the football program.

In 2010, he was hired as director of football operations for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL where he was responsible for the operation and administration of the team until January of 2013. In his time with the Locomotives, Fassel also assisted the director of player personnel by maintaining the player database and providing player evaluations. Fassel also negotiated and secured team housing for players, coaches and staff while also handling the team's 20,000 square-foot facility.

In addition to working in the football operations business, Fassel spent time as an associate for a national retail group from 2008-10 and a relationship manager for Farm Plus Financial from 2013-16.

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Fassel returned to football at the start of 2017 at Snow College where he split time as the director of football operations and an assistant coach. In his time at Snow College, he assisted the head coach with all facets of the football program, including recruiting, strength and conditioning, scheduling, team travel, equipment and more. He was also responsible for coaching All-American returner Leon Morgan, as well as the No. 1 ranked offense in the NJCAA.

Growing up, Fassel spent time as an equipment assistant during the summers for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, all teams his father, Jim Fassel, coached for from 1991-2003.