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Sitake adds Kaufusi, Empey, Tafisi to BYU football coaching staff

Scott G Winterton/Deseret News

Sitake adds Kaufusi, Empey, Tafisi to BYU football coaching staff

By Sean Walker | Posted - Jan. 14, 2016 at 5:58 p.m.


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PROVO — BYU announced the additions of offensive line coach Mike Empey and strength and conditioning coach Nu'u Tafisi to its football staff, as well as the retainment of defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi from Bronco Mendenhall's former staff.

"Establishing the line of scrimmage is very important and I'm confident Steve and Mike will help us do that," new BYU football coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement. "Nu'u gets the most out of his athletes and I know he will help our team be tough and prepared. I'm excited to have him leading our strength and conditioning program."

Empey returns to BYU after having been dismissed in 2004 following stints as offensive line coach under LaVell Edwards and Gary Crowton. But when Mendenhall took over the staff, the former BYU offensive lineman and teammate of current offensive coordinator Ty Detmer was released to make room for former offensive coordinator Robert Anae.

After nearly a dozen years of college coaching experience, Empey returns to BYU following three years as the offensive coordinator at American Fork High School, guiding the Cavemen to the 2014 state title and 11-3 record. At the time, he also worked at Stryker Corporation as operations manager and trauma sales manager.

"I'm excited for this opportunity to come back to BYU and grateful to work with coach Sitake and Ty," Empey said in a release. "We've been friends for many years and this is the kind of environment and culture that I want to coach in."

Empey was the head coach at Snow College in 1999, leading the Badgers to a 7-3 record and guiding the top junior college passing offense in the nation. The Pocatello, Idaho native served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in San Jose California, and he and his wife Stephanie are the parents of four children.

Oregon State defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a, left, speaks with BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi at the All-Poly football camp in Layton, June 18, 2015. (Photo: Chris Samuels, Deseret News)
Oregon State defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a, left, speaks with BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi at the All-Poly football camp in Layton, June 18, 2015. (Photo: Chris Samuels, Deseret News)

Kaufusi remains on staff for the 15th-straight year, making him the longest tenured BYU football coach currently announced. He will continue to work with the defensive line, where he helped a unit that totaled 19.5 tackles for loss in 2015 anchored around his son Bronson, who graduated this past season.

The BYU graduate and Salt Lake City native coached eight seasons at the Universisty of Utah before joining the Cougar coaching staff in 2002, where he and his wife Michelle have sent most of their five children, including current BYU basketball center Corbin.

"I'm grateful and excited to coach here at BYU," Steve Kaufusi said in a statement. "Coach Sitake is a leader and has a great vision for the program and I am happy to be a part of it."

Kaufusi was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 after a college career at BYU that began at Dixie State, and was bridged by a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Tonga.

Tafisi was the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Southern California in 2015 after spending the previous three seasons at Utah. A graduate of East High in Salt Lake City, Tafisi was a junior college All-American at Mountain San Antonio College in Walnut, California, before going on to become a two-time all-Pac 10 second-team defensive end at California. He totaled 70 tackles and nine sacks in two years with the Golden Bears, and finished his career against BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2005.

Tafisi played in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks before joining Utah's staff.

"It's a dream come true to be here at BYU," Tafisi said in a statement. "I love working with these young players and being with them in the weight room to get them ready for game day."

"It's a dream come true to be here at BYU," Tafisi said. "I love working with these young players and being with them in the weight room to get them ready for game day."

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Sean Walker

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