There is big news coming out of the Arizona Wildcats football program. Duane Akina, a former right-hand man for late coaching icon Dick Tomey, is expected to return to Tucson. The new head coach, Brent Brennan, revealed during his press conference that Akina is likely to join his staff at Arizona. Akina is known for his fiery coaching style and has had a successful career in the world of college football.
Last season, Akina served as the defensive backs assistant at Texas, where he worked alongside former UA defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen. During his time at Texas, Akina played a key role in improving the team's defense. They went from being ranked 125th in the nation in total defense to an impressive 50th in just two seasons.
Akina has a long history with the Arizona Wildcats. He previously held positions such as defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator, and defensive backs coach during the celebrated "Desert Swarm" era under Tomey from 1987-2000. Brennan also has a connection to Akina, as he was a graduate assistant at Arizona for one season in 2000.
This won't be the first time Akina has worked at Arizona. In 2011, he briefly coached the team's defensive backs under Mike Stoops before returning to Texas. Throughout his career, Akina has mentored and coached several standout players, including three Jim Thorpe Award winners: Darryll Lewis, Michael Huff, and Aaron Ross.
Prior to his time at Texas, Akina coached defensive backs at Stanford from 2014-2022. Now, it seems he's headed back to Tucson to work with Brennan and become a part of the Wildcats' coaching staff once again.
The Arizona Wildcats and their fans have a lot to look forward to with the addition of Duane Akina to the coaching staff. His experience, expertise, and passion for the game will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the team's defense. As Coach Norris would say, Akina's return to Arizona is a game-changer that will ignite the gridiron in Tucson.