(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah (Jan. 4, 2013) — BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall today announced Robert Anae has been hired as the program’s offensive coordinator.
“I am excited to announce Robert Anae as BYU’s offensive coordinator,” Mendenhall said. “During his career Robert has been involved with some of the best offensive schemes in college football, and he has a proven record of coaching elite-level offensive production. He is also a man of great intelligence, personal integrity, complete honesty and total loyalty. Robert is the ideal person to oversee our offense, and I’m thrilled he will be returning to BYU.”
Anae returns to his alma mater where he previously served as offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach on Mendenhall’s staff from 2005-2010 before leaving to become the run game coordinator and offensive line coach at the University of Arizona.
“I’d like to thank Greg Burns, Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona staff and players for an outstanding year in 2012. It was my privilege to be part of the Arizona program the past two years and to have coached the players I worked with in Tucson,” Anae said. “I’d like to thank Tom Holmoe, Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU administration for the opportunity to return to BYU. My family and I look forward to an outstanding experience in a very familiar place.”
Anae spent the last two years at Arizona under Mike Stoops and Rodriguez, serving as offensive line coach both seasons and run game coordinator under Stoops. Arizona’s offense ranked in the top 16 both years and was in the top 25 in passing both seasons as well. Arizona produced the No. 3 passer nationally with Nick Foles averaging 360.8 passing yards per game in 2011 before being drafted in the third round of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Anae’s offensive line blocked for the nation’s leading rusher in 2012, with Ka’Deem Carey picking up 1,929 yards and 23 touchdowns on 303 carries.
Arizona ranked No. 7 in total offense this past season at 526.2 yards per game to help the Wildcats to an 8-5 record that included victories over nationally ranked Oklahoma State (59-38) and USC (39-36). The Wildcats scored 38.2 points per game to rank No. 16 nationally, including a 49-point output to defeat Nevada in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl. The point total was just three points off the New Mexico Bowl record of 52 points set by BYU in 2010 with Anae directing the Cougar offense.
During Anae’s first tenure as offensive coordinator at BYU, the Cougar offense was extremely successful, earning top-25 NCAA statistical rankings in 10 different offensive categories a total of 35 times, including 15 top-10 ratings. BYU ranked in the top 25 in third-down efficiency each of Anae’s six seasons, including a No. 1 ranking in 2009 and No. 2 ratings in 2008 and 2006. The Cougars were in the top-6 in passing offense three times (2005, 2006, 2008) in his six seasons overseeing the BYU attack.
BYU’s offensive production under Anae helped produced the school’s top two rushers of all time (Harvey Unga: 3,455 yards; and Curtis Brown: 3,221 yards), the program’s top wide receiver in receiving yards, catches and touchdowns (Austin Collie: 3,255 yards and 30 touchdowns on 215 catches), BYU’s highest achieving tight end in both receiving yards and catches (Dennis Pitta: 2,901 yards on 221 receptions) and the Cougars’ winningest all-time quarterback (Max Hall: 32 victories as a starter). Hall and John Beck, who also played quarterback during Anae’s tenure, both went on to the NFL with Beck earning All-America accolades at BYU. Pitta, meanwhile, not only set the BYU record for receiving yards by a tight end but also is No. 1 in that category in NCAA history.
As BYU’s inside receivers coach from 2005-2010, Anae helped Pitta, Jonny Harline and Andrew George earn a combined six All-Mountain West Conference tight end honors, including five first-team awards. BYU tight ends also achieved national accolades under Anae’s tutelage as Harline received first-team All-America honors in 2006 and Dennis Pitta was named an NCAA Consensus All-American in 2009.
Anae has been part of many of BYU’s most successful teams as both a player and a coach. As BYU’s offensive coordinator, the Cougars earned bowl invitations each season while winning two outright MWC championships and achieving an overall record of 56-21 (.727). He was an offensive lineman on BYU’s National Championship team in 1984 and part of four bowl teams from 1981-84 while earning second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors. BYU achieved a 43-7 record during Anae’s playing days under Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards. He played in the Hula bowl in 1985 and was drafted by the New Jersey Generals of the USFL.
A three-time Frank Broyles Award nominee for Assistant Coach of the Year (nominated at Texas Tech, BYU and Arizona), Anae is a 24-year coaching veteran at seven different schools. Anae’s first stint as offensive coordinator at BYU came following five seasons coaching with Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-2004. As offensive line coach for the Red Raiders, Anae helped put together some of the most prolific offenses in the NCAA. The Texas Tech offense ranked No. 1 in the nation in passing three out of Anae’s five years and in the top 11 the remaining two. The Red Raiders also ranked in the top six in total offense three times, including 582.8 yards per game to lead the nation in 2003—the fifth-best mark in NCAA history.
Anae began his coaching career as a graduate assistant working with the offensive line at Hawaii under Dick Tomey in 1986-87. He then was a grad assistant for a pair of years at BYU in 1990 and 1991 before coaching the offensive line at Ricks College in Idaho from 1992-95. He coached the offensive front for a year at Boise State in 1996 before moving to UNLV for a pair of seasons, the final as running game coordinator along with his line duties in 1998.
Anae and his wife, Liane, have two sons, Famika and Max, and a daughter, Penny, who just got married on Dec. 29. His son Famika played on the offensive line at BYU before ending his career during the 2012 season due to injuries. Anae's father, Famika, and brothers Brad and Matt, also played football for BYU.
He was born in California in 1958 and raised in Lai'e on Hawaii's north shore. He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tulsa, Okla., from 1978-80. He graduated from BYU in 1986, obtained a master's degree in sociology from BYU in 1990 and earned his doctorate in sociology from Brigham Young in 1999 while serving as an assistant director in the BYU student-athlete center and NCAA Life Skills director.
Anae takes the vacant spot on Mendenhall’s staff created when longtime assistant Lance Reynolds announced after BYU’s Poinsettia Bowl victory that he is stepping away from coaching after a three-decade career at BYU. Anae assumes the offensive coordinator duties held the past two seasons by Brandon Doman. One of Anae’s first duties will be to work with Mendenhall to make coaching evaluations and any related offensive staff position assignments.
“I look forward to working with the young men on our team to represent the BYU brand of football that has characterized our program for decades,” Anae said. “I look forward to developing the players on the offensive side of the football at a high level both on and off the field.”