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USC DL Coach Chad Kauha’aha’a Has Strong Bond With Kalani Sitake

Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – No. 24 ranked USC travels to Provo to take on BYU for the first time since 2004. It’s been 15 years since these two programs faced off against one another on the gridiron.

During the past 15 years, a lot has changed in the lives of BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and his friend, Chad Kauha’aha’a.

15 years ago, Sitake was working at Southern Utah as an offensive line and tight end coach while Kauha’aha’a was the head coach at his alma mater Baldwin High School in Hawaii.

Now Kauha’aha’a is in his first year with the USC Trojans as their defensive line coach.

Sitake and Kauha’aha’a’s connection to Sitake is deeper than just friends, it’s more of a family connection.

“Coach Kalani is a dear, close friend to my family,” said Kauha’aha’a. “I got to know Coach Kalani when I first got into the business of coaching. When I signed off as a coach at Weber State, Weber State’s budget wasn’t going very well. I got to know Coach Kalani, he kind of took me in. When I was out on the road recruiting, he invited me and said, listen, I know your situation, I’ve been there, why don’t you stay with me and I can show you the ropes. That’s how this friendship started. Over the years it’s built and it’s like we’re family. It’s like we’re blood family, that’s how close we are.

Kauha’aha’a continued, I’ve spent a lot of time with his family, his kids, his wife, we got to work together at Utah and Oregon State. Kalani was a big reason why I got hired at the University of Utah. I know Kyle (Whittingham) hired me, but Kalani was a bigger part of it when I went through that process.”

The two coaches worked with one another at Utah and Oregon State from 2011-2012, 2015. Kauha’aha’a also worked with BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki when the two were at Utah State, Utah, and Oregon State.

Last year, Coach Chad was working for the Boise State football program. He is very familiar with BYU’s personnel on the offensive side.

“Watching the film from last year to this year, they’re a completely different group now,” Kauha’aha’a said. “They are a much more veteran group and you can tell they’ve played together for a lot of snaps. They are a seasoned group … You can see the momentum they’ve built since Zach Wilson came on board as the quarterback. Knowing Kalani, he will have his team prepared and he will have his team ready … I know Kalani Sitake and he’s a confident dude.”

BYU and USC kickoff Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and the game can be heard on KSL Newsradio. You can find more information on how to watch, stream or attend the game here.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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