Garett Tujague (left) and Mark Atuaia have been hired as assistant football coaches. (BYU photos)
PROVO, Utah — BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall today announced Mark Atuaia and Garett Tujague have been hired as assistant coaches on the offensive staff.
“Garett and Mark have unique skills and experiences and are fine, capable men that I’m counting on to help our players reach their full potential,” Mendenhall said. “Each has a history with BYU and a passion to help the program move forward.”
Both former Cougar players, Atuaia (pronounced Ah-too-ah-ee-ah) has been serving as assistant to the athletics director for student services at BYU, while Tujague (pronounced TWO-jay) has spent the past six seasons as the head football coach at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif. Atuaia played running back at BYU from 1991, 1994-96 while Tujague was an offensive lineman from 1989-1991.
“I’m excited for the chance to help develop young men in a BYU setting, helping them navigate through the great and unique experiences only found at this institution,” Atuaia said. “My life experiences have helped me to be ready for this opportunity, and I’ll exhaust all my efforts ensuring that these young men are successful on the field and in life.”
Atuaia joined BYU Athletics this past June after previously working as the assistant to the dean of Student Life at BYU. He took that position after graduating in 2011 with both a doctor of jurisprudence from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School and a master of public administration from the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management at BYU’s Marriott School of Management.
During Atuaia’s four-year playing career, BYU achieved a 39-11-2 record, won three conference titles and was ranked in the final top-25 three times. In addition, the offense was ranked in the top 10 nationally three of his four seasons.
As a senior in 1996 he started 13 games on BYU’s 14-1 Cotton Bowl team that finished the year ranked No. 5 in the country after defeating Kansas State 19-15 on New Year’s Day 1997. Atuaia also helped BYU defeat Oklahoma 31-6 in the 1994 Cooper Bowl to finish ranked No. 10 by CNN and No. 18 by The Associated Press with a 10-3 record.
Atuaia totaled 1,247 yards on 301 carries (4.1 yards per attempt) with 11 touchdowns during his college career, while adding 68 catches for 668 yards (9.8 yards per catch) and four scoring receptions. His career-long rush was 51 yards while his long reception went for 61 yards. Atuaia also added 113 return yards as a member of the kick return team his freshman and sophomore seasons.
A native of Laie, Hawai’i, Atuaia prepped at Kahuku High School before attending BYU. He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tucson, Ariz., from 1992-93. He received his bachelor’s degree from BYU-Hawaii in 2003.
Atuaia and his wife Elizabeth, an accomplished recording artist and lead singer for the 1980s pop group The Jets, are the parents of seven children. His brothers Alema (1993, 1995-96) and Donny (1995-1999) also played football at BYU.
Tujague comes to Provo after 15 seasons at College of the Canyons, including the past six years as the head coach. Under his direction, the COC Cougars earned a 43-25 record and received five bowl invitations in his six seasons.
“It’s a great feeling to be home, very humbling,” Tujague said. “I am excited for this opportunity to be at BYU with these young men and be part of their mission in football and in life. I’d like to express my gratitude to the great people at College of the Canyons for preparing me for this step. I’m grateful for their guidance and for allowing me to be a head coach.”
Tujague coached and developed three conference players of the year, an all-state player of the year, eight all-state athletes and five JC All-Americans at COC. His teams earned three postseason wins and he was named the Southern California Football Association National Conference Coach of the Year in 2008 following a 12-1 season. He was also honored as the Western States Conference Co-Coach of the Year in 2007 after a 9-3 record.
Prior to his promotion to head coach, Tujague served nine years as assistant head coach and offensive line coach at COC under Chuck Lyon, helping build the program upon its reinstatement in 1998 after 17 years without football. Before College of the Canyons, he coached at Chabot College from 1993-95 and the University of Redlands from 1996-97. While at Redlands, the Bulldogs won two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
As a player, Tujague was a left guard at BYU under assistant coach Roger French from 1989-1991 after two years at Chabot College, where he earned All-America honors as an offensive lineman. After redshirting at BYU in 1989, he contributed on the field to the Cougars’ second-straight 10-3 season and top-25 final ranking. Statistically, the offense ranked No. 2 in the nation at 565.8 yards per game while also rating No. 2 in scoring, putting up 42.5 points per contest.
As a senior in 1991, Tujague earned starting duties protecting Heisman Trophy winner and consensus All-American quarterback Ty Detmer. The Cougar offensive front helped BYU rank No. 5 in total offense at 479.5 yards per outing and No. 11 nationally in scoring at 35 points per game. The Cougars won the conference championship all three seasons Tujague was in Provo.
Tujague received a bachelor's degree in recreation management from BYU in 1992 and a master's degree in educational counseling from the University of Redlands in 1997. A native of Pleasanton, Calif., Tujague and his wife Cami are the parents of three children: Savanah, Summer and Carson.
Position assignments will be announced once the entire coaching staff is finalized.