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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Akina heading back to Texas

Less than a month after agreeing to leave the University of Texas to coach Arizona’s secondary, Duane Akina informed football head coach Mike Stoops on Monday morning that he’s headed back to the Longhorns, citing family reasons as the “”driving force.””

“”I’m not happy that I had to put both of these institutions in this situation,”” Akina said in a press release. “”It’s been a tough month for me and my family making these decisions. Any time you have younger children, it becomes a very difficult decision and that was the driving force behind this decision.

“”Mike (Stoops) and Greg (Byrne) have been terrific to me,”” Akina added. “”Arizona is a wonderful place that is special to me. I came here because this is a solid program that is on the rise. Mike is an outstanding coach and I am sorry it didn’t work out. He has a tremendous staff in place.””

When Akina was hired on Jan. 16 he expressed pure excitement to return to the place where he coached under former Wildcats’ head coach Dick Tomey for 14 seasons. Stoops was even more thrilled to bring in such a heralded defensive mind that would serve as his top and highest-paid assistant.

Akina added a newfound confidence to Arizona’s defense, especially its young but talented secondary. He even brought in a handful of recruits, while boosting Arizona’s Polynesian recruiting presence, as Akina hails from Oahu, Hawaii.

Needless to say, Akina’s departure is a letdown for Stoops, who said on National Signing Day that his trio of new coaches — Akina, Robert Anae and Joe Salave’a — were the “”best pickups we could have gotten.””

“”We are disappointed,”” Stoops said in the release. “”We were excited to have Duane (Akina) on our staff. We respect his decision and wish the best for him and his family.””

Akina will take over as the Longhorns’ defensive coordinator, filling the void left by Jerry Gray, who recently left UT to become the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, will start their search for a replacement immediately. Although Stoops may not find another Akina, he’s confident Arizona will find the right person to handle the secondary.  

“”We have always hired good people to come into our program,”” Stoops said. “”We’ve always had great coaches for our system and players. We will make sure that we hire another quality person.””


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