Ute Head Coach Ron McBride hired veteran coach Tommy Lee to coach his quarterbacks back in 1995 and in the spring of 1998 added offensive coordinator to his title. Lee, now in his third year as Utah's offensive coordinator and his sixth year with the quarterbacks, brought a wealth of collegiate and professional play-calling experience to the U. He was an offensive coordinator for three colleges: Montana, Portland State and Willamette. He was also offensive coordinator for Toronto of the Canadian Football League and San Antonio of the World League of American Football.
In 1998, his first season as offensive coordinator, the Utes led the 16-team WAC in total offense (415.3 ypg) and were second in scoring offense (30.8 ppg). Utah finished 18th in the nation in rushing offense (206.0 ypg). It marked the first time since 1984 that a Ute team averaged 200 rushing yards per game. Running back Mike Anderson led the league in rushing and was first-team all-conference. He also made the all-conference first team in 1999, as did offensive guard Luis Park. The 1999 Utes led the MWC and finished 16th nationally in scoring offense (33.0 ppg).
Lee has had similar success as a position coach. He tutored walk-on quarterback Mike Fouts into a two-year starter from 1995-96. For the past two years, he has overcome injuries at quarterback by platooning Darnell Arceneaux; most recently with T.D. Croshaw. Lee has done a nice job of custom-fitting Utah's passing game to their very different strengths.
Lee's stint at Utah followed a four-year professional coaching career. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Toronto of the CFL from 1993-94 and for San Antonio of the now defunct W.L.A.F. from 1991-92. In 1992, San Antonio shared the best record (7-2) in the World League. Before jumping to the pros, Lee acquired 19 years of collegiate coaching experience at Willamette (1972-83), Portland State (1983-85) and Montana (1986-90). He ended his stint at Willamette as its head coach from 1974-83. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at both Portland State and Montana.
Success has followed Lee everywhere. Montana compiled a 38-20 record during his stay, including what was then the best mark in school history (11-3 in 1989). The Griz made the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs twice and went all the way to the semifinals in 1989. His offense ranked in the nation's Top-10 (Division I-AA) four years and he coached two all-Big Sky quarterbacks*Grady Bennett and Brent Pease. He produced similar results at NCAA Division II Portland State. The Vikings won the 1984 Western Football Conference championship and Lee coached QB Terry Summerfield to all-conference honors. Lee's move to the NCAA ranks came after a decade of coaching at Willamette College, an NAIA school in Oregon. He assisted at Willamette his first two years (1972-73), before assuming the head coaching job from 1974-83. Lee's early grounding came as a high school coach. He spent a total of eight years coaching in the prep ranks at Hawaii's St. Louis High and Oregon's Central Catholic High.
PLAYERS COACHED BY LEE
Mike Anderson: First-team all-league running back from 1998-99 ... WAC's leading rusher in 1998 ... 1999 Las Vegas Bowl MVP.
Grady Bennett: Was Montana's all-time passing leader ... all-Big Sky in 1989 ... is now offensive coordinator at Flathead High School in Kalispell, Mont.
Mike Fouts: Third all-time at Utah in career TD passes and fourth in passing yards.
Jason Garrett: Played for Lee at San Antonio of the W.L.A.F. Later picked up by Dallas of the NFL.
Brad Goebel: Played for Lee with San Antonio of the W.L.A.F.
Marvin Graves: Syracuse record holder later played for Lee with the Toronto Argonauts ... now plays for Saskatchewan.
Mike Johnson: Coached by Lee at San Antonio of the W.L.A.F ... now the quarterbacks coach for the San Diego Chargers.
Daniel Jones: All-WAC receiver in 1998.
Luis Park: First-team all-MWC offensive lineman in 1999.
Brent Pease: All-Big Sky quarterback at Montana played professionally for Houston (NFL) and Winnipeg (CFL) ... is now offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona.
During his collegiate career at Willamette in Salem, Ore. (1959-63), Lee was an NAIA All-America quarterback and 1962 Athlete of the Year. He played a year with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the CFL. In 1985, he was inducted into the NAIA District II Hall of Fame as the Outstanding Back. In 1995, he was inducted into the Willamette Hall of Fame.
Birthdate: Sept. 11, 1941
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Education: 1963, bachelor's degree (physical education), Willamette; 1972, master's degree (education), Willamette.
Family: Married to the former Nani Won. Three children: Leimomi (Hall), Tom Pohai, Thor Hooipo.