COUGAR TRACKS

BYU’s Coaching Staff Continuity Is Rare In College Football

Apr 25, 2022, 10:11 PM | Updated: 10:15 pm
BYU Football - Kalani Sitake...
BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake coaches up his team during a spring practice on March 14, 2022. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – Members of the BYU football coaching staff had its share of suitors during the wild and crazy coaching carousel this past January. But everyone from that group –including head coach Kalani Sitake— is back for the 2022 season.

That level of continuity is hard to find in college football these days. BYU is one of five programs in all of college football this fall to bring back the head coach and all of his assistants for the upcoming 2022 season.

BYU football is one of five staffs to bring everyone back in 2022

The other four programs include BYU’s future Big 12 foe Iowa State, NC State, and a pair of opponents BYU will face this fall in Stanford and Wyoming. Big thanks to CollegePressbox.com for that stat.

The common theme in these five teams is the head coach has been a mainstay. Sitake, entering his seventh season at his alma mater, is tied for the shortest tenure among those five programs, along with Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. On the other hand, Stanford’s David Shaw has been the Cardinal head coach since 2011; he’s the longest-tenured out of the five.

The continuity on BYU’s coaching staff paired with a roster that features the second-most returning experience in college football has BYU optimistic they can have another finish in the Top 25 rankings in 2022.

Kalani Sitake leads the way

Kalani Sitake’s coaching staff has become a tight-knit group. Since Sitake took over as head coach in 2016, four of his assistants have remained at BYU alongside him, headlined by Assistant Head Coach Ed Lamb and Defensive Coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki.

At offensive coordinator, Aaron Roderick has been part of BYU’s staff since 2018. He received the official offensive coordinator title in 2021 after Jeff Grimes left for the same position at Baylor. But Roderick has been heavily involved with playcalling dating back to 2019.

It’s an experienced staff that had incentives to all return this season. BYU is now ramping up its efforts toward life in the Big 12 Conference beginning in 2023.

During last winter’s coaching carousel, Sitake received interest from the Oregon Ducks in their coaching search, leading to BYU giving the first-ever Tongan-born head coach an “unprecedented” contract extension from BYU administrators. Terms of the deal were not released, but the extension locked in Sitake as BYU’s head coach through the 2027 season.

Sitake’s assistants were also taken care of in the extension –one of Sitake’s goals in the negotiations– with new contracts that kicked in this past January.

Adding analysts

With the additional commitment to BYU football heading into their first voyage as a Power 5 program, the Cougars also built up their support staff with additional analysts.

BYU landed Matt Mitchell from Baylor to come back to Provo as an offensive analyst. Former NFL tight end Al Pupunu is in his second year at BYU as an analyst. Pupu is working with the running backs after being a full-time assistant at Colorado in the Pac-12 Conference.

The Cougars also have Tyson McDaniel, a former grad assistant at Arizona State, working as an analyst with the quarterbacks.

Sitake has always said he wants to see coaches from his staff progress in the profession. But if they choose to stay, it doesn’t hurt BYU to have so much continuity and experience with one another.

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 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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