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PROVO — New BYU head coach Kalani Sitake went to a familiar name for one of his first coaching hires in his return to Provo.
The former Oregon State defensive coordinator has brought in Beavers linebacker coach Iliasa Tuiaki, though the exact nature of his position is unknown. Tuiaki, who unconfirmed reports suggest may be Sitake's defensive coordinator, also has experience as a position coach working with the defensive line, running backs and special teams coordinator.
Tuiaki, who joined Gary Andersen's staff at Oregon State a year ago alongside Sitake, is a Provo native and Timpview High graduate who played at Snow College and Southern Utah.
After a career as a high school coach at Kearns High and on the local mixed martial arts circuit, Tuiaki went to Utah as a graduate assistant in 2008 before joining Andersen to coordinate Utah State's special teams for two seasons in 2009, when he also coached Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the year and NFL draft pick Robert Turbin as running backs coach.
Tuiaki returned to the Utes in 2011, and he coached everything from the running backs to the tight ends to the defensive line for two years before moving to Corvallis, Oregon. He helped mentor Morris Trophy winner Nate Orchard and coached Lowell Lotulelei to Freshman All-America honors.
In addition to his lone season coaching the linebackers, Tuiaki also managed Oregon State's special teams.
"Thank you, Oregon State and Beaver Nation, for the opportunity to contribute to this great program," Tuiaki wrote on his Instagram account. "And thank you to BYU and Cougar Nation for the hospitable and warm welcome you've extended me. I'm excited for the future and can't wait to meet and work with the team. We've got a great man and head coach in Kalani and I couldn't be more excited to be with him on this journey."
Sitake began recruiting efforts and finalizing his staff as soon as he finished being introduced to the media Monday on BYU's campus in Provo. Former BYU players Ty Detmer and Ed Lamb have both been among those linked to the ex-Cougar fullback's staff — but both denied immediate reports to the suggestion.
Reached by phone Monday, Detmer told KSL that he had recent conversations with Sitake but had not received an offer or contract from BYU. He also said via Twitter that reports of him becoming BYU's offensive coordinator were inaccurate as of Monday night.
Contributing: Rod Zundel