Feb. 27, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State football head coach Gary Andersen announced Monday that running backs and tight ends coach Ilaisa Tuiaki has left the USU coaching staff to join the University of Utah staff, where he will serve as fullbacks and tight ends coach for the Utes.
Ilaisa Tuiaki (pronounced E-lye-sa Too-ee-ah-kee) was on Andersen's staff with the Aggies for three seasons as running backs coach, while serving as recruiting coordinator for the last two seasons and just taking over the Aggie tight ends in January.
Coming to Utah State from Utah with Andersen in 2009, Tuiaki was a graduate assistant for the Utes' defense, coaching the strong side linebackers. When he joined the USU staff in 2009, he shifted back to the offensive side of the ball, coaching USU's running backs as well as assisting with special teams.
With Utah State, Tuiaki helped the Aggies' USU offense establish new school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675 yards), total points (437) and total TDs (60). USU led the Western Athletic Conference and ranked sixth in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in rushing offense at 282.7 yards per game.
Tuiaki also mentored two-time all-WAC running back Robert Turbin, who was also named the 2011 WAC Offensive Player of the Year. Turbin rushed for 1,517 yards during his junior season of 2011, becoming just the third Aggie running back with 1,500 yards, finishing No. 3 on the list. Ending his USU career with 3,315 rushing yards, Turbin holds the No. 5 spot on USU's Career Rushing list and No. 19 on the WAC's Career Rushing list. Turbin tied the USU career rushing TD record with 40 scores, and the 40 career rushing TDs ranks No. 10 on the WAC's career rushing score list. For his career, Turbin also set USU records with 51 total TDs and 308 career points scored, ranking tied for No. 6 on the WAC's career total TD list and No. 13 on the league's career scoring list.
Tuiaki also played a vital role in the progress in Michael Smith, who rushed for 870 yards in 2011 to rank seventh in the conference, making USU the only team in the WAC with two running backs in the top eight in rushing in the league. Smith also led the WAC and ranked third in the FBS with 7.6 yards per carry. For his three-year USU career, Smith ended with 1,313 yards finishing with a school-record 7.1 ypc.
Both Smith and Turbin were injured in 2010, and Tuiaki coached Derrvin Speight, who led the team in rushing and ranked seventh in the WAC and 85th in FBS in rushing with 64.9 ypg. Kerwynn Williams also rushed for 451 yards for the 2010 season, including a career-best and USU season-high 147 yards at Boise State. In 2011, Williams rushed for 542 yards, ranking 11th in the WAC with 41.7 ypg, to make the Aggies the only team with three running backs in the top 11 of the league's rushers.
Tuiaki spent one year as graduate assistant coach at Utah, where he worked with the strong side linebackers on defense, assisting defensive coordinator Andersen. Tuiaki also played for Andersen at Southern Utah in 2003, as he was a running back for the Thunderbirds for two seasons, joining SUU after two years at Snow JC.
Andersen said he hopes to have Tuiaki's replacement in place prior to USU opening spring camp on March 27.
Utah State football season ticket renewals and new sales for the 2012 season are available at 2011's prices until May 1. Renewals are available online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu. Fans interested in new sales should contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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