Jan. 18, 2011
Akina, 54, has coached three Thorpe Award winners including Darryll Lewis at Arizona, and 23 defensive backs who moved on to the NFL. He has been at Texas for the past 10 years and was a top defensive assistant at Arizona from 1987 to 2000.
"Duane has a ton of experience at the top level of the game, is familiar with the Arizona program and is a great complement to our defensive staff," said Stoops. "He's been a coordinator at two schools and knows defense inside and out. His championship experience will be a huge benefit to our program."
"I'm very excited about coming back to Arizona. It's obviously a special place for me and my family, where lots of good things happened," Akina said. "I'm grateful to Texas for giving me a chance to be a part of Longhorn football for the past 10 years and now I'm appreciative of the chance to work with Coach Stoops. (Athletics director) Greg Byrne has a vision for Arizona football that's going to work. I want to help," he said.
A 33-year coaching veteran who has spent the bulk of those seasons working with defensive backs, Akina tutored Lewis (1990) and UT's Michael Huff (2005) and Aaron Ross (2006) to Thorpe Awards, plus has worked with six finalists for the honor including UA's Chris McAlister. He also worked with UA consensus All-American Chuck Cecil in his first season at Arizona in 1987.
Akina has eight years' experience as a coordinator. He was offensive coordinator for Dick Tomey at UA from 1992-95, and Texas' co-defensive coordinator for four seasons under Mack Brown at Texas from 2004-07. He has been assistant head coach and defensive backs coach the last three years at Texas. He joined the UT staff for the 2001 season as DBs coach after briefly being named defensive coordinator under John Mackovic at Arizona that winter.
In 14 seasons with Tomey, Akina was a versatile and steady influence on Arizona's defensive and offensive units. He was the only assistant on each of UA's 14 staffs during the period and was named associate head coach in 1990. He coached All-Pac-10 safety Jeff Hammerschmidt, UA's current defensive ends coach, and was secondary coach when current UA defensive tackles coach Joe Salave'a was wrapping up UA's "Desert Swarm" era as a defensive tackle.
His work with quarterback Danny White at Arizona helped produced some of Tomey's more balanced attacks Akina's final three years as offensive coordinator including the then first-year starter's noted performance in 1993 by helping lead UA to a 10-2 season, Pac-10 co-title and victory over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl in January 1994. But defense has been his coaching forte, working with UA coordinators Larry Mac Duff and Rich Ellerson, and with UT's many strong squads including its 2005 national championship as co-coordinator.
In his 10 seasons at UT, Akina's secondary helped the Horns rank among the nation's Top 10 in pass defense four times and featured consecutive Jim Thorpe Award winners in Huff and Ross to go along with finalist Earl Thomas (2009) and 10 first-team All-Big 12 picks. Seven of the Texas DBs he tutored are currently in the NFL. Two of his 2010 Texas players, Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown, earned second-team All-Big-12 honors. The Longhorns ranked No. 6 in pass defense in 2010, limiting opponents to 161 yards per game
In his first season at Texas, he helped guide one of the nation's premier secondaries that ranked third in passing defense (146.7 ypg) and fourth in pass efficiency defense (88.0 rating). The Longhorns allowed only 4.77 yards per pass attempt, which was the lowest in the nation, while their six touchdown passes allowed were tied for the second-fewest nationally.
Akina's top pupil was CB Quentin Jammer, who became UT's first unanimous first-team All-America defender since Jerry Gray in 1984. Jammer, who set a UT single-season record with 24 pass breakups and eclipsed the school's career PBUs mark with 57, also became the first Longhorn to earn a spot as a Thorpe Award finalist.
Despite losing two starters to the NFL (Jammer and Ahmad Brooks), Akina guided a secondary that was again among the nation's best in 2002. Led by first-team All-Big 12 performer and Thorpe Award semifinalist Rod Babers, the secondary ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense (96.1 rating), eighth in passing defense (165.2 ypg.) and allowed just 5.37 yards per attempt (third NCAA). Babers posted 21 PBUs (No. 3 on UT's single-season list) and finished his career ranked third on the UT all-time PBU chart (49). Akina also helped train S Michael Huff, who earned third-team Freshman All-America honors.
In 2003, the Longhorns ranked ninth nationally in pass defense (177.3 ypg) and third in completion percentage allowed (47.2). CB Nathan Vasher was a Thorpe Award semifinalist, earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and tied the oldest-standing mark on the Longhorn record book with his 17th career interception. He also broke the UT record for career pass breakups with 64.
After being named co-defensive coordinator in 2004, Akina helped guide a defense that finished 18th in scoring defense (17.9), 16th in rushing defense (107.4), 32nd in turnover margin (+5) and 23rd in total defense (320.1) in the country. Under Akina's direction, Huff became a member of the Jim Thorpe Award watch list and three of the four starters in the secondary were named to All-Big 12 teams.
The pattern continued in 2005 as Akina led a defense and secondary that ranked fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense (96.7), eighth in pass defense (172.0 ypg), eighth in scoring defense (16.4 ppg) and 10th in total defense (302.9 ypg). Akina also mentored Huff as Texas' first-ever Jim Thorpe Award winner and produced three All-Big 12 performers out of the secondary.
Despite losing two players who wound up starting for their NFL teams in Huff (Raiders) and Cedric Griffin (Vikings), Akina continued to show his ability to develop great talent in 2006. He helped Aaron Ross become Texas' second consecutive Thorpe Award winner. Michael Griffin also capped his outstanding career with All-America honors.
The duo of Michael Griffin and Ross went on to be drafted back-to-back in the NFL first round, 19th overall by the Titans and 20th by the Giants, respectively. Both earned starting positions with Ross and the Giants advancing to the Super Bowl. Tarell Brown was the third Longhorn DB drafted that year (UT first since 1984), as he was chosen in the fifth round by the 49ers.
In 2007, Akina guided a Texas defense that was sixth-best in the nation against the run (93.4 ypg). Safety Marcus Griffin earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and was named first-team All-America by ESPN.com.
Akina returned his full focus to the defensive backs in 2008. With only one returning starter in CB Ryan Palmer, Akina guided the emergence of two freshmen at the starting safety positions. By season's end, Earl Thomas was named first-team Freshman All-America, while Blake Gideon earned second-team honors from College Football News. Palmer earned second-team All-Big 12 honors, and the unit helped Texas rank second in the Big 12 in pass efficiency defense.
In 2009 Akina guided a secondary that helped the defense lead the nation in interceptions (25), rank 10th in pass efficiency defense and 19th in passing yards allowed. It also featured the Longhorns' third Thorpe Award finalist in the last five years in consensus All-America honoree S Earl Thomas, who led the nation in passes defended and tied for second in interceptions with a UT record eight. Thomas also tied the UT single-season record with two INT returned for TDs.
Akina joined the UT program after spending the previous 14 seasons at Arizona, where he served as the associate head coach and was tabbed defensive coordinator in December 2000. During his tenure at Arizona, he was a versatile coach who worked with both sides of the ball. Akina spent his final five seasons as defensive backs coach and nine of his 14 seasons working with the Wildcats' secondary. He also was UA's offensive coordinator from 1992-95.
As the secondary coach at Arizona, Akina helped guide the Wildcats' "Desert Swarm" defensive attack, one of the nation's most aggressive and productive groups. His prize pupils were Darryll Lewis, the 1990 Jim Thorpe Award winner, and Chris McAlister, a finalist for the Thorpe Award and winner of the Mosi Tatupu National Special Teams Player of the Year award in 1998. Lewis was a Pro Bowler for the San Diego Chargers and played 10 seasons in the NFL. McAlister, meanwhile, earned a spot in the 2004 Pro Bowl and was a member of the 2000 Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.
During his time as offensive coordinator, Akina guided some of the Wildcats' most productive offenses. In 1994, he helped develop the UA offense into a unit that recorded more than 200 yards passing per game. Arizona's offense registered 2,211 passing yards and 1,776 rushing yards that season, which marked the first time in a decade that the team had registered more yards passing than rushing. In 1995, Akina directed the Wildcats' passing attack to 204.3 yards per game, which, at the time, ranked fifth on the school's all-time list.
Akina joined the UA staff in January 1987 after spending a season as defensive backs coach with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Prior to that, he spent five years as an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii. Akina coached the defensive backs in 1981-82 and `84-85 and tutored the outside linebackers in 1983 at UH.
A native of Honolulu, Akina is a 1979 graduate of the University of Washington. He earned three letters as a quarterback, and upon completing his eligibility, served as a graduate assistant coach at UW. Akina worked with the Huskies' quarterbacks in 1979-80.
Hawaii's Prep Athlete of the Year at Honolulu's Punahou High School in 1974-75, he was a three-time all-league selection as a quarterback in football and a guard in basketball. Akina and his wife, Donna, have five children, Kainoa, Keoni, Dionicia, Alli and Kamalii. Kainoa has a wife, Daya.
Duane Akina File Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii High school: Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii) College: Washington (1979) Wife: Donna Children: Kainoa, Keoni, Dionicia, Alli, Kamalii
Akina's Coaching History 2010: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs, Texas 2009: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs, Texas 2008: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs, Texas 2004-07: Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs, Texas 2003: Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs, Texas 2001-02: Defensive Backs, Texas 1996-2000: Defensive Backs (Defensive Coordinator, Spring 2001), Arizona 1992-95: Offensive Coordinator, Arizona 1989-2001: Associate Head Coach, Arizona 1987-91: Defensive Backs, Arizona 1986: Defensive Backs, Calgary (CFL) 1984-85: Defensive Backs, Hawaii 1983: Outside Linebackers, Hawaii 1981-82: Defensive Backs, Hawaii 1979-80: Graduate Assistant, Washington
Akina in the Bowls 2010: Rose Bowl: BCS National Championship, Texas 2009: Fiesta Bowl, Texas 2007: Holiday Bowl, Texas 2006: Alamo Bowl, Texas 2006: Rose Bowl, Texas (National Champions) 2005: Rose Bowl, Texas 2003: Holiday Bowl, Texas 2003: Cotton Bowl, Texas 2001: Holiday Bowl, Texas 1998: Holiday Bowl, Arizona 1997: Insight.com Bowl, Arizona 1994: Freedom Bowl, Arizona 1994: Fiesta Bowl, Arizona 1992: John Hancock Bowl, Arizona 1990: Aloha Bowl, Arizona 1989: Copper Bowl, Arizona 1981: Rose Bowl, Washington 1976: Rose Bowl, Washington (player)