|Mike Tuiasosopo is in his first year at Colorado as one of the defensive line coaches, joining Jon Embree's new staff in December 2010. He is entering his 22nd year of coaching, including his 16th at the Division I level as a full-time assistant coach.|
Tuiasosopo, 47, joined the Colorado staff after a seven-year run at Arizona from 2004-10 where he went with Mike Stoops first staff, the first four as the defensive tackles coach and the last three as the defensive line coach.
At Arizona, the Wildcats ranked in the top 25 in the nation in total defense in both 2008 and '09. He coached Justin Washington to several Freshman All-America honors in 2010 while defensive end Ricky Elmore was named All-Pac 10. He coached two other interior defensive linemen that earned all-conference honors and were drafted into the NFL in Earl Mitchell, who was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, and Lionel Dotson, who was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Prior to his time with the Wildcats, he coached for one season at Utah as the defensive tackles coach. He was instrumental there in the recruitment and development of Sione Pouha, a third round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, and Jonathan Fanene, drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.
He joined the Utah staff from Nevada, where he was the defensive line coach from 2000-02 after starting his full time Division I coaching resume at Utah State as the defensive line coach from 1996-99. At Nevada, he coached WAC sack leader Jorge Cordova, who was a third round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2004. With the Aggies, he coached three all-Big West defensive linemen including the 1997 Big West Defensive Player of the Year Ben Crosland. Utah State played Colorado in 1997 and Tuiasosopo's defensive line was able to sack Colorado QB Mike Moschetti eight times for 83 yards in losses despite a CU 25-6 victory.
In 1997 he served the first of two minority internships offered by the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He also spent tiem with the Green Bay Packers in 2002 as part of the same program.
Tuiasosopo spent five of his first six years in coaching in the high school ranks in California with his first job coming in 1990 as the defensive line coach at Montclair Prep. He coached as a graduate assistant a Pacific, earning a master's degree there helping out with the defensive line and linebackers before returning to high school as a linebackers coach at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif.
He then moved on to Berkeley, Calif., where he was the head coach at Berkeley High School from 1993-95. In his time there, he coached two future Buffs, Hannibal Navies and Rashidi Barnes, who both went on to play professional football. Embree was the primary recruiter of both Navies and Barnes to Colorado.
Tuiasosopo comes from a football rich family tradition. His uncle, Bob Apisa, was a two-time All-America fullback at Michigan State and was drafted by Green Bay in 1968. A cousin, Manu Tuiasosopo, was a two-time All-America defensive lineman at UCLA and was the No. 7 overall pick in the 1979 NFL Draft and started for the 1985 Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers.
A brother, Navy Tuiasosopo, lettered at Utah State from 1983-86 and played for the L.A. Rams while another brother, Titus Tuiasosopo, played for USC from 1988-91. His cousin, Marques Tuiasosopo, was a quarterback at Washington and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders and also played for the New York Jets. A nephew, Conan Amituanai, just finished his career on the offensive line at Arizona.
He was born on September 10, 1963, in American Samoa and grew up in Carson, Calif. He played football four years at Pacific Lutheran from 1985-88 and was the starting tackle his final three seasons there. He earned first-team All-Columbia Conference honors two years and his junior year, Pacific Lutheran won the NAIA Division II National Championship and compiled a 36-7-2 mark in his four years there.
He graduated from Pacific Lutheran in 1989 and earned a master's degree in education administration from Pacific in 1991. He and his wife, Kathy, have three children, daughters Lanea and Maya, and son Titus.
TOP PLAYERS COACHED-Big West Defensive Player of the Year (1): Ben Crosland. All-WAC/Big West/Mountain West/Pac-10 (9): Jorge Cordova, Crosland, Lionel Dotson, Ricky Elmore, Jonathan Fanene, Walter Fiefia, Lindsay Hassell, Earl Mitchell, Sione Pouha. NFL Players (5): Cordova, Dotson, Mitchell, Hannibal Navies, Marcus Williams.
RECORD-He has coached in 176 Division I-A games as a full-time coach, owning a record of 80-96, including 41-43 at Arizona in seven years, 10-2 at Utah in one season, 10-25 in three years at Nevada and 19-26 in four years at Utah State. He has coached in four bowl games, on each at Utah State and Utah and two at Arizona.