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It’s official: OL coach Robert Anae leaving Arizona to return to BYU

Robert Anae

Robert Anae has been a popular coach at Arizona for the past two seasons. 2011 photo by Michael Chow, Arizona Republic.

UPDATED: 5:50 p.m. with the official announcement from BYU

Arizona Wildcats offensive line coach Robert Anae will to return to BYU as offensive coordinator, the school announced late Friday afternoon.

Rumors circulated about the potential hiring this morning. Jeff Call of the Deseret News was the first on the story.

Anae, who was the Cougars’ inside receivers coach and offensive coordinator under Bronco Mendenhall from 2005 to 2010, has been at Arizona for the past two years. He was the only assistant from Mike Stoops’ coaching staff to be re-hired by coach Rich Rodriguez after the 2011 season.

Anae resigned under pressure at BYU after the 2010 season as Mendenhall opted for sweeping changes. Now, Mendenhall is making sweeping changes again on his offensive coaching staff and bringing back Anae, who was a standout offensive lineman for BYU and played on the Cougars’ 1984 national championship squad.

“It was my privilege to be part of the Arizona program the past two years and to have coached the players I worked with in Tucson,” Anae said in a statement.

Anae, 54, was a popular coach at Arizona, helping the young 2011 offensive line (one career start entering the season) mature into a more productive unit in 2012.

Anae’s son, Famika, stayed at BYU to play football after his father left for Arizona. Famika is still at BYU but had to give up football during this season due to various injuries, including a surgically repaired knee.

The Wildcats have lost two assistant coaches this offseason. Tight ends coach Spencer Leftwich left to go to UTEP, where his son will be a freshman quarterback next fall. Rodriguez moved quickly and promoted Charlie Ragle off his operations staff to replace Leftwich.

As for a new offensive line coach, the most logical target for Rodriguez is Greg Frey, who is the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Indiana. He was an assistant under Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan.

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