Former Arizona Wildcats All-American safety Tony Bouie had an NFL career. He went back to school to get a master’s degree. He started his own business. He ran twice, unsuccessfully, for statewide office.
He has survived stage-four lymphoma.
And now, at age 38, he’s trying to reinvent himself again.
He’s going into coaching.
Bouie has accepted a graduate assistant’s position at the University of Akron, working for head coach Rob Ianello, who will be entering his second season. Ianello is a former Arizona assistant coach whose time in Tucson overlapped Bouie’s playing days for the 1994 season.
“This is my path,” Bouie said of coaching.
“After surviving cancer, I decided that I was couldn’t do things in life that didn’t matter. That’s why I ran for office, because I thought I could make a difference. That experience was great. …
“As I look back at all those guys who coached me and formed me as a young adult, I think it’s a great way to give back. With my playing experience in the NFL and college, I think I can give back as a coach and mentor.”
Bouie, who lives in Anthem north of Phoenix, said he expects to leave this week for Akron. He will be helping coach the secondary, working under defensive coordinator Curt Mallory and working with a friend — linebackers coach Charlie Camp, who played the position at Arizona from 1991 to 1995.
“I think it’s a great situation for me with a head coach that I know, and I was out there for a week and I hit it off with Curt Mallory,” Bouie said. “I feel good about it.”
Akron went 1-11 in Ianello’s first season as a head coach, avoiding a winless season by beating Buffalo in the finale. Ianello was known as an ace recruiter at all his stops as an assistant coach, so perhaps he just needs a couple of years to get things going.
The Zips haven’t had a winning record since 2005 and haven’t won eight games in a season since 1985.