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Ilaisa Tuiaki is New Fullbacks and Tight Ends Coach

Ilaisa Tuiaki has been hired to coach Utah's fullbacks and tight ends.

Ilaisa Tuiaki has been hired to coach Utah's fullbacks and tight ends.

Feb. 27, 2012

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Ilaisa Tuiaki (pronounced E-lye-sa too-ee-ah-kee), the running backs coach at Utah State for the past three years, has joined the Utah staff as the fullbacks and tight ends coach, Kyle Whittingham announced today. Tuiaki (whose nickname is "E") also served as USU's recruiting coordinator last year.

"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," said Whittingham. "He is a high-energy, enthusiastic coach that has an excellent rapport with the players."

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to be back coaching at Utah," said Tuiaki, who worked with the strong side linebackers as a graduate assistant for the Utes in 2008. "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."



Under Tuiaki, Utah State led the Western Athletic Conference and ranked sixth in the nation in rushing in 2011, averaging 282.7 yards per game. Junior Robert Turbin was named the 2011 WAC Offensive Player of the Year, rushing for 1,517 yards while averaging 6. 1 yards per carry, and scoring a school-record 19 touchdowns. Turbin netted 1,296 yards with 18 touchdowns in 2009--Tuiaki's first year as his coach--before missing the 2010 season with an injury.

Tuiaki began his career as an assistant coach at Kearns High School (Utah), where he coached the wide receivers and outside linebackers in 2006 and was the offensive coordinator in 2007. He also taught sophomore English at Kearns for those two years.

Tuiaki was a four-year starting running back at Snow College and Southern Utah and a team captain for SUU. An academic all-conference player, he was a two-time winner of a Utah Coalition for the Advancement of Minorities in Higher Education (UCAHME) scholarship. Additionally, Tuiaki played rugby at SUU and was his club team's captain.

Tuiaki graduated from SUU in 2006 with a double major in English and physical education. He has begun work on a master's degree in education policy and leadership from Utah.

A native of Provo, Utah, Tuiaki is married to the former Viola Wolfgramm. They have five children: sons Laveatu'u and Lolo, and daughters Uini, Leisinia and Heilala.

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