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UA football staff nearly full

Citizen Staff

Coach Mike Stoops adds a defensive line coach and a graduate assistant on offense.



University of Arizona football coach Mike Stoops is recruiting players and a coach from Klein Forest High School in Houston, Texas.

The Wildcats earlier received commitments from defensive end McCollins Umeh and safety Dominic Patrick from Klein Forest High. Now Arizona has added the school’s coach, Gene Johnson, to its coaching staff as a graduate assistant for the offense.

Stoops has also hired Mike Tuiasosopo of Utah to coach defensive tackles at Arizona, according to the Salt Lake City Tribune. Neither Stoops nor Tuiasosopo returned phone calls last night.

Johnson confirmed he has been hired but he was adamant about not being a package deal with his former high school players.

“If this is a package deal, then I need to go back to Negotiation 101 because I’m not getting a salary,” said Johnson, the 2002 Touchdown Club of Houston coach of the year. “People are going to speculate. There has been no package deal arranged. The only thing that happened is Coach Stoops offering me a position.”

Umeh committed to Arizona on Monday after visiting Tucson last weekend with Patrick and Klein Forest High wide receiver Bobby McCoy. McCoy says the Wildcats are among his favorites, but he still has visits slated for Arkansas, Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

Umeh, the 11th-rated defensive end nationally by Rivals, had committed to Kansas State previously.

Johnson leaves his head football coaching and assistant athletic director position for the G.A. spot at Arizona by the end of the week.

“It is a great opportunity to coach at the college level again,” Johnson said. “It’s great exposure being at Arizona and working with coach Stoops and the staff he has compiled.”

Johnson, a quarterback at Louisiana Tech from 1988-91, played for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League in 1992.

After a brief stint selling real estate, he began coaching, spending the 1994 and 1995 seasons as a graduate assistant at Southern Mississippi. He has coached at Klein Forest High for seven years, the last four as a head coach.

Johnson rebuilt the program and leaves with a 37-11 overall record.

“It has been a fun time here,” Johnson said. “I’ve been able to grow a lot. I’m a different coach than I was 10 years ago. I don’t know where (this) is going or where it will lead, it’s just a chance to better myself as a coach.”

Stoops relentlessly pursued Tuiasosopo, according to the Tribune.

“It went round and round for about four or five days,” Tuiasosopo told the Tribune. “It’s a very, very tough deal to leave here. (Utah coach) Urban (Meyer) has been very good to me and my family. We coached some great kids.”

Two vacancies remain on UA’s full-time staff, plus a defensive graduate assistant spot.

Tuiasosopo spent last year assisting a Utah defense that finished with back-to-back shutouts. He was a defensive line coach at Nevada for three years after coaching the line at Utah State from 1998-99.

Born in American Samoa and raised in California, Tuiasosopo was a four-year letterman at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash. He was a first-team All-Columbia Conference selection in 1987 and 1988.

Tuiasosopo’s cousin, Manu Tuiasosopo, is the father of former University of Washington great and current Oakland Raiders backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo.

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