Dec. 9, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz.--Head football coach Rich Rodriguez looked nationally but turned only to last year's Wildcat staff to pick an offensive line coach for his new Arizona program, re-hiring Robert Anae to join the staff.
"I'm happy to re-hire Robert to join this staff," Rodriguez said. "He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to add to our offensive package and is a great fit for our program."
"I'm thrilled to be back and eager to join Coach Rodriguez and the rest of his staff in shaping a new direction for Arizona football," Anae said. "We have a great opportunity to be a fine team. I'm ready to bear down with Rich's staff."
Anae took a unit with no returning starters and helped craft one of the youngest starting groups in the country. Only junior center Kyle Quinn had started a game -- the Alamo Bowl -- and he became the veteran on a group with twin redshirt freshman tackles Fabbians Ebbele and Mickey Baucus, sophomore guard Chris Putton and junior guard Trace Biskin. Junior guard Shane Zink also started some games along with redshirt freshman guard Carter Lees. All but Quinn essentially were new to Pac-12 football.
The group gave up only 23 sacks in 577 passing attempts -- one per 25 throws -- and helped UA gain 5,583 yards in total offense. Most observers close to the program expect the unit to be one of the team's strengths in 2012, albeit under Rodriguez expected new system which should incorporate more focus on running the ball.
The work earned Anae a national nomination for the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach.
Anae, an 18-year coaching veteran, was offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach at Brigham Young for six seasons prior to his UA appointment last year and has a strong background in offensive football as a former BYU player under LaVell Edwards and five years spent in Lubbock, Texas, on then coach Mike Leach's Texas Tech staff from 2000-04.
Anae began his coaching career as a graduate assistant working with the offensive line at Hawaii in 1986-87, working Dick Tomey's final season in Honolulu before he took the Arizona job. He then was a grad assistant for a pair of years at BYU in 1990 and 1991 before coaching the offensive line at Ricks College in Idaho from 1992-95.
He coached the front at Boise State and UNLV in the late 1990s before joining Leach's staff in Lubbock, moving to BYU in 2005.
Anae, a native of Hawai'i who turns 53 on Dec. 21, served a Mormon mission stateside in Tulsa, Okla. He graduated from BYU in 1986, took a master's degree in sociology from BYU in 1990 and earned his doctorate from Brigham Young in 1999 while serving as an assistant director in the BYU student-athlete center and NCAA Life Skills director. He is Arizona's first-ever football coach with a doctoral degree.
Rodriguez said he would hire one more offensive coach, to work with tight ends. Yesterday he named Rod Smith a co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach and on Monday he'll join the staff already aboard -- co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Calvin Magee and receivers coach Tony Dews, along with defensive backs coach Tony Gibson. Anae will return promptly.
Rodriguez said he'll complete the staff with three defensive coaches -- including a coordinator -- in the next week or so. Depending on the individuals that would be a line coach, linebackers coach and likely a perimeter package mentor in the expected 3-3-5 defense he's used in previous head coaching jobs. Additionally, he said he would determine the leadership role for special teams by the time the entire staff is complete.