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SALT LAKE CITY — It didn’t take long for the University of Utah to replace Gary Andersen’s spot on the coaching staff.
A day after Andersen was named head coach at Utah State University, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham filled the spot with former Ute great Sione Po’uha. The former defensive tackle at Utah and the NFL will coach the defensive tackles.
“It’s great to have Sione back in our program,” Whittingham said in a statement. “In his playing days, he was an outstanding defensive tackle here at Utah and had a lengthy and successful NFL career as well. We are also excited about the impact he will have in our recruiting.”
Po’uha played seven years with the New York Jets, who drafted him in the third round in 2005. He eventually decided to walk away from the sport in 2012 and moved back to Utah. He later served as a student-assistant coach at Utah from 2015-16 as he finished his undergraduate degree.
In 2017, Po’uha took over as the program’s director of football player development before accepting a defensive tackle coaching position at Navy for a season.
“I am so appreciative of coach Whittingham for giving me the opportunity to come back and coach at my alma mater,” Po’uha said in a statement. “It was a dream of mine, and I am excited about working with the players and coaches here.”
As a defensive tackle at Utah, Po’uha was named a first-team Mountain West defensive lineman and was part of Utah’s first BCS busting run in a Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh in 2004.