Dixie State Football Finalizes Coaching Staff

Jan 17, 2019, 2:21 PM
(Stan Plewe - Dixie State Athletics)...
(Stan Plewe - Dixie State Athletics)
(Stan Plewe - Dixie State Athletics)

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Dixie State Trailblazers head football coach Paul Peterson has finalized his coaching staff for the 2019 season.

He added four coaches on the defensive side of the football that includes Tyler Almond, Loni Fangupo, Misi Tupe, and Mike Smith. On the offensive side of the ball, Peterson added three new coaches that includes John Hughes, JD Falslev, and Peter Tuitupou. Mike Fassel will serve as the director of football operations and coach special teams.

“I am very excited about our coaching staff,” Peterson said. “These men are great leaders, mentors and teachers. They have played or coached at the highest levels of football. They know what kind of hard work it takes to build a championship team and culture.”

Tyler Almond

Almond will be the defensive coordinator for Dixie State and will also coach the safeties. He brings 11 years of coaching experience to the Trailblazers program, including seven years at the NCAA Division I FCS level.

He spent the last two seasons as head coach and assistant athletic director at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento, California. In his two seasons as head coach, Almond posted a 15-9 record and led the Falcons to the 2017 Capital Athletic League Championship and to California Interscholastic Federation playoff appearances in both seasons. Almond sent three players to Division I programs and was named 2017 Capital Athletic League Coach of the Year.

Before his time at Christian Brothers High School, he spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Sacramento State, where he served as linebackers coach from 2012-17 and defensive line coach from 2011-12.

Prior to Sacramento State, Almond began his coaching career at Christian Brothers High School where he coached linebackers, running backs and special teams from 2006-08.

Loni Fangupo

Fangupo will be the defensive line coach for the Trailblazers. He joins the program after two years as a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator when Paul Peterson was head coach at Snow College.

The Badgers posted an 18-4 record during Fangupo’s time as the defensive line coach, including a win in the 2017 El Torro Bowl.

Before his time at Snow College, he served as a student intern at BYU from 2015-16 where he assisted with the defensive line. Fangupo played three seasons in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2014-15, Pittsburgh Steelers from 2013-14, Seattle Seahawks from 2012-13 and the Houston Texans in 2012.

He played collegiately at BYU from 2010-11, USC from 2009-10 and Mount San Antonio Junior College from 2007-09.

Misi Tupe

Tupe will serve as the linebackers coach under Paul Peterson after spending the last three seasons on the defensive staff at Snow College. He joined the Badgers in 2016 as linebackers and secondary coach, before being promoted to associate head coach and defensive coordinator in 2017.

The Badgers had a 26-5 record in Tupe’s three seasons with Snow College. Before his stint in Ephraim, Utah, he was the linebackers coach at Pine View High School in 2015 and Snow Canyon High School in 2014.

Tupe first coached at Dixie State as linebackers coach from 2008-12 under former coaches Ron Haun and Scott Brumfield. He played collegiately at Dixie State during his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Trailblazers entering their final years as a junior college. Tupe transferred to Texas A&M from 2006-07 and earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2006 and Team Defensive MVP in 2007.

Mike Smith

Smith will be the cornerbacks coach at Dixie State after spending the 2018 season as a defensive analyst at BYU, where he helped break down and analyze offensive and defensive coaching strategies, developed assessments and recommendations on athletes’ recruitment, and aided in the development of coaching and practice sessions for Kalani Sitake and the BYU coaching staff.

He spent three seasons as a football strength and conditioning graduate assistant at Oregon State from 2015-18, where he helped coach all concepts of the OSU football strength and conditioning program.

Smith was a running back at Utah State from 2009-11, he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent two seasons in the NFL with the Buccaneers and the New York Jets. Smith played for the Ottawa Redbacks of the Canadian Football League in 2014.

John Hughes

Hughes will serve as the offensive line coach for the Trailblazers. He was previously the offensive line coach at Western Colorado during the 2018 season. Hughes served as a graduate assistant fro two seasons on the offensive line at the University of Colorado.

Before his stint in Boulder, Colorado, Hughes was at the University of Akron where he was a graduate assistant on defense, working with linebackers for the 2015 season.

JD Falslev

Falslev has been hired to be the wide receivers coach at Dixie State. He was previously on the offensive staff at BYU for four seasons, he was an offensive analyst during the 2018 season and was a graduate assistant from 2015-18.

He played four seasons at BYU from 2010-13, where he was a three-time All-Independent punt return honoree and a second team All-Independent wide receiver. After his college career, Falslev played one season with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 2014.

Peter Tuitupou

Tuitupou will be the running backs coach at Dixie State. He was previously a graduate assistant at the University of Colorado, where he assisted with the tight ends, offensive line, and special teams.

Before his stint at CU, Tuitupou was a sales manager for a solar company in California for two years. He signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2013 after his college career at San Jose State.

From 2007-08, he played at Snow College, where he was named a first team All-American as a sophomore.

Mike Fassel

Fassel will be the director of football operations and special teams coach for the Trailblazers. He held the same position at Snow College in 2017. Fassel has previous stints with Princeton University and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

He was a kicker and a holder at Boston College as a three-year starter. He is the son of former Utah and NFL head coach Jim Fassel.

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