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Navy loses defensive line coach to Utah

Bill Wagner
Contact Reporterbwagner@capgaznews.com

An anticipated staff shake-up within the Navy football program began on Monday with one assistant leaving of his own volition.

Utah announced on Monday afternoon that Sione Po’uha has been hired as defensive tackles coach. Po’uha is a Utah graduate and member of the school’s 2005 Fiesta Bowl team.

Head coach Kyle Whittingham has great familiarity with Po’uha, who served as a student assistant and Director of Player Development for the Utes.

“It’s great to have Sione back in our program,” Whittingham said in the announcement. “In his playing days he was an outstanding defensive tackle here at Utah and had a lengthy and successful NFL career as well. We are also excited about the impact he will have in our recruiting.”

Po’uha, a product of East High in Salt Lake City, was named first team All-Mountain West Conference as a senior in 2004. The 6-foot-3, 325-pounder was a third round draft pick of the New York Jets and wound up playing seven seasons with the organization.

“I am so appreciative of Coach (Kyle) Whittingham for giving me the opportunity to come back and coach at my alma mater,” Po'uha said in a statement. “It was a dream of mine and I am excited about working with the players and coaches here.”

Po’uha, the son of immigrants from Tonga, replaced Shaun Nua as Navy defensive line coach. Nua, who hailed from American Samoa, resigned in early January to accept the same position at Arizona.

“Sione brings a wealth of knowledge from his career as a defensive lineman in the National Football League, and he has played and worked for some of the best defensive minds in football,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said when Po’uha’s hiring was announced on Feb. 27 of this year.

Po’uha’s abrupt departure after just 10 months in Annapolis means that Navy’s rising senior and junior defensive linemen will have their third different coach since joining the program.

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