Tuiaki steps down as defensive coordinator


PROVO, Utah – BYU football coach Ilaisa Tuiaki announced Sunday night he is stepping down from his position at BYU after seven years as the defensive coordinator.

“What a great seven-year run it’s been,” Tuiaki said in his social media post. “It’s time to venture out and pursue a new challenge. I want to say thank you. Thank you to my friend, my brother and mentor Kalani Sitake for the opportunity to coordinate this defense all these years.”

Tuiaki also went on to share additional appreciation to coaches, mentors and Cougar Nation in his announcement on social media. From Provo, Utah, Tuiaki joined the football staff as defensive coordinator in 2016 when Sitake was hired as the head coach. Tuiaki has been coaching since 2006, spending time at Oregon State, Utah, Utah State and Kearns High School. 

“It's not possible for me to express my true appreciation for Ilaisa and what he means to me as a friend, brother and coach,” Sitake said. “Not only have we coached together more than a decade, but he and his wife Viola and their kids are like family to me and Timberly. I can't offer enough thanks to him for all he has done to help build our football program as our defensive coordinator the past seven years. His dedication is unquestioned and his trustworthiness is unmatched. He is completely selfless in how he handles everything he does. I have seen how much of an impact Ilaisa has had on the lives of the players he has coached and how much he genuinely cares about them and about their well-being. He will always be family to me and to so many others. I know he will continue to have that kind of impact as a coach as he takes on his next challenge.”

With Tuiaki’s departure, BYU will immediately begin a search for a new defensive coordinator to lead the program’s defense. Once in place, the new defensive coordinator will work with Sitake to determine any defensive staff needs. 

BYU finished the regular season 7-5 after defeating Stanford on Saturday and is awaiting its bowl invitation to conclude the 2022 season.