Former BYU Player Justin Ena Lands New Coaching Role At Dixie State

May 27, 2021, 3:02 PM
Justin Ena...
Former BYU player and Utah Ute assistant coach Justin Ena instructs during practice in Salt Lake City Thursday, April 9, 2015. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former BYU linebacker Justin Ena is now the defensive coordinator at Dixie State University.

Dixie State head football coach Paul Peterson announced on Thursday welcoming Ena, who has been in college coaching since 2008.

“I am very excited to be working again with Coach Ena,” Peterson said in a press release. “Coach Ena comes to us with a ton of experience as an NFL player, a play caller at the FBS level, and recruiting in Utah. He is a perfect fit, he coaches with great energy, and he is going to elevate our program.”

After four years as a player in the NFL, Ena began his college coaching career with Southern Utah as a special teams coordinator for the T-Birds. He later served as the program’s defensive coordinator for four seasons.

Justin Ena is reconnecting with Paul Peterson at Dixie State

Ena worked with Paul Peterson on the same coaching staff in Cedar City. Peterson was a QB coach and Passing Game Coordinator for the T-Birds.

“I am excited to reconnect with Coach Peterson and look forward to being part of the Trailblazer Athletic Family,” Ena said. “I’ve been very impressed with the Trailblazers competitive prowess on the field and look forward to continue in their great success.”

Play calling experience

Ena was named the defensive coordinator at Weber State on coach Jay Hill’s first Weber State staff in 2014. After one year with the Wildcats, Ena was hired as the linebackers coach at Utah, where he was then promoted to Co-Special Teams Coordinator in 2016.

Ena teammates up with Gary Andersen to become the defensive coordinator at Utah State in 2019. He was Utah State’s defensive play caller for one season. Ena was not retained on the Utah State staff after Blake Anderson was hired to replace Andersen in Cache Valley.

Earlier this year, Ena was a linebackers coach on the staff at Eastern Washington, where he worked with his brother Eti on the staff. The Eagles finished 5-2 during their spring season before losing to North Dakota State in the FCS Playoffs.

Dixie State is gearing up for its first year in the WAC

Ena played at BYU from 1997-2001. He’s one of five coaches on the Dixie State staff with ties to BYU. Peterson was a graduate assistant at BYU in 2006. Offensive Coordinator Kelly Bills played at BYU from 2006-2007. Defensive line coach Loni Fangupo was a star along BYU’s defensive line in 2011, and defensive backs coach Michael Smith was a defensive analyst at BYU in 2018.

Dixie State finished their first year in the FCS with a 2-3 record this past spring as an FCS Independent. This fall, Dixie State will be a member of the revived Western Athletic Conference football league.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com 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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