Mike Tuiasosopo has reshaped the middle of Arizona's defense in his six seasons and leads what he has helped develop into one of the team's best units in the past several seasons.
Tuiasosopo, 46, joined the UA staff for Mike Stoops' first season. He came to Tucson after a year of coaching defensive tackles at Utah. He has been a college Division I line coach for the past 14 years. He collaborates with assistant Jeff Hammerschmidt to coach the defensive front, working primarily with the interior tackles.
His team leader in 2009, Earl Mitchell, earned all-conference honors while Tuiasosopo helped build depth across the unit with other key contributors.
Tuiasosopo comes from a football-rich family tradition and his status in the Polynesian community and culture across the western United States and beyond, has been a key to UA's recruiting efforts in the Islands and on the West Coast.
His uncle, Bob Apisa, was a two-time All-America fullback at Michigan State and was drafted by Green Bay in 1968. A cousin, Manu Tuiasosopo, a two-time All-America defensive lineman for UCLA, was the seventh overall pick in the 1979 draft by Seattle and started for 1985 Super Bowl champion San Francisco. A brother, Navy, lettered at Utah State from 1983-86 and later played for the Los Angeles Rams. Brother Titus played for Southern California from 1988-91. Cousin Marques Tuiasosopo was a star quarterback at Washington and NFL veteran. A nephew, Conan Amituanai, is a UA senior starting guard.
Coached defensive tackle Earl Mitchell to 2009 second-team All-Pac-10 honors and position himself for a third-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. Mitchell also excelled in the classroom as a national Academic Momenum Award winner and was a team co-captain.
Helped make the interior front one of UA's strength's in its Pac-10 No. 2-rated total defense unit.
Coached defensive tackle Earl Mitchell to 2008 honorable mention all-Pac-10 honors after converting from a tight end his first two years, and position himself as a potential '10 draft pick entering the year
Coached senior tackle Lionel Dotson to second-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2007. Helped Dotson develop from redshirt freshman part-time starter to a 33-game starter his final three seasons, and seventh-round selection by the Miami Dolphins in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Helped strengthen UA's interior defense into a solid upper tier rushing- and total defensive unit the past four years, including a No. 24 figure in total defense in 2008.
His recruiting skill has helped re-define Arizona's recruitment in the Polynesian community.
Helped develop Sione Pouha, a 2005 third-round NFL draft pick by the New York Jets, and Jonathan Fanene, drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and a four-year NFL veteran.
Coached Western Athletic Conference sack leader Jorge Cordova at Nevada in 2002, and Cordova was a third-round NFL draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004.
Coached three first-team all-league linemen at Utah State, including 1997 Big West Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Crosland.
Served National Football League minority internships in 1997 with the San Francisco 49ers and in 2002 with the Green Bay Packers.
Head coach at Berkeley, Calif., High School for three years from 1993-95, earning Oakland Tribune Coach of the Year honors in 1994. Berkeley's Hannibal Navies and Rashidi Barnes, coached by Tuisasosopo, coached went on to play professionally.
Born in American Samoa and grew up in Carson, Calif. Tuiasosopo played four years at Pacific Lutheran from 1985-88, starting at tackle his final three seasons. Earned first-team All-Columbia Conference selection as a junior and senior at Pacific Lutheran, which won the NAIA Division II national title his junior year and compiled a 36-7-2 mark during his career.
Tuiasosopo's Coaching History
1990 Defensive line Montclair, Calif., Prep
1991 Graduate assistant, DL/LB Pacific
1992 Linebackers St. Mary's H.S. (Stockton)
1993 Head Coach Berkeley High School
1994 Head Coach Berkeley High School
1995 Head Coach Berkeley High School
1996 Defensive Line Coach Utah State
1997 Defensive Line Coach Utah State
1998 Defensive Line Coach Utah State
1999 Defensive Line Coach Utah State
2000 Defensive Line Coach Nevada
2001 Defensive Line Coach Nevada
2002 Defensive Line Coach Nevada
2003 Defensive Tackles Coach Utah
2004 Defensive Tackles Coach Arizona
2005 Defensive Tackles Coach Arizona
2006 Defensive Tackles Coach Arizona
2007 Defensive Tackles Coach Arizona
2008 Defensive Line Coach Arizona
2009 Defensive Line Coach Arizona
2010 Defensive Line Coach Arizona
Tuiasosopo in Bowl Games
1997 Humanitarian Bowl Utah State coach
2003 Liberty Bowl Utah coach
2008 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Arizona coach
2009 Holiday Bowl Arizona coach
The Tuiasosopo File
Arizona Defensive Line Coach
Birthdate: Sept. 10, 1963, American Samoa
High School: Phineas Banning High School, Wilmington, Calif., 1981
College: Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., 1989
Master's, education administration, Pacific 1991
Playing Experience: Pacific Lutheran, defensive tackle, 1985-88
Recruiting Areas: Central Los Angeles, Hawaii, Utah, Northwest
Family: Wife, Kathy; daughters Lanea and Maya; son Titus