Harvey Unga Officially Hired As BYU Running Backs Coach

Mar 19, 2020, 10:04 AM | Updated: 10:42 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU football opened up spring practices with an opening on its coaching staff. The man to fill that vacancy is a familiar name to Cougar fans. Harvey Unga has been named the new running backs coach at BYU.

Unga was promoted from a graduate assistant position he held the past four seasons on Kalani Sitake’s staff.

“I am excited to announce Harvey Unga as our running backs coach,” BYU coach Sitake said. “Harvey is a great young coach who was an elite player for BYU and is an extremely humble person. He knows the game, relates well to the players, and has done an outstanding job the past four years on our staff. We are excited to have him step into this role, and know he will excel in helping the young men in our program learn, grow and develop.”

A former BYU star, at the conclusion of Unga’s playing career with the Cougars in 2009 he was the school’s all-time leading rusher. That record has since been passed by former BYU running back Jamaal Williams who is now playing for the Green Bay Packers. Unga’s hiring now brings six former BYU players on the Cougars coaching staff which includes Sitake who was a former fullback under LaVell Edwards in the late 1990s.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity. It has been a dream of mine to coach at BYU and also coach the position I played,” Unga said. “I’m grateful to Tom Holmoe, Brian Santiago, Kalani Sitake, coach (Jeff) Grimes and the staff for their trust in allowing me to take on this role. It is humbling. Above all, I’m thankful to my Heavenly Father and especially thank my wife and family for their love and support that make it all possible. The boys on the team have all been supportive of me, and I can’t wait to help them achieve their goals.”

When this position became available, Unga was a favorite among BYU fans to take the position. Last month, Unga was seen sitting on the front row at a BYU basketball game next to Kalani Sitake and it amplified hopes from fans that the great ball carrier for BYU would be the next running back coach. During the limited sessions of spring practice, Sitake said Unga was in charge of the RB room during spring ball.

Being the running backs coach is Unga’s first full-time coaching position on a 10-man staff in college football.

Previous experience for Harvey Unga

Unga assisted former running backs coach AJ Steward who is now in the same role at Arizona as the graduate assistant in the running back room, so Unga already has a lot of knowledge and experience with BYU’s current ball carriers.

In Unga’s other two seasons on BYU’s staff, he assisted with the offensive line in 2016 and then the wide receivers in 2017.

Since Kalani Sitake became BYU’s head coach in 2016, Unga is the third running backs coach during Sitake’s tenure.

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

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