Cats add two coaches, two grad assistants

Mike Stoops added two more coaches to his Arizona football staff today, appointing Mike Canales as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and Mike Tuiasosopo as defensive line coach.

Canales comes to Arizona from the New York Jets, where he coached wide receivers for a year. He has predominantly been a quarterbacks coach and coordinator, notably with tutelage under Lavell Edwards and Norm Chow at BYU early in his career and a later assignment directing the high-powered passing game at North Carolina State.

Tuiasosopo, joins the UA staff after a year coaching defensive tackles at Utah. He is a former college player and has been a collegiate defensive line coach for the past eight years. He comes from a foot-rich family tradition. He'll coach the interior tackles positions at UA.

"These two guys are going to help us," Stoops said. "Mike Canales' offensive background is outstanding and will give us the kind of emphasis we want spreading the field, and Mike Tuiasosopo has coached some champion-level players and has a football mentality that will spread throughout our team. I'm eager to work with them," he said.

Stoops has one more position to fill on the defensive side. The new staff includes his brother, Mark Stoops, defensive coordinator and secondary coach; linebackers coach Tim Kish, wide receivers coach Charlie Williams, tackles and tight ends coach Eric Wolford, centers and guards coach John Peterson and running backs coach Kasey Dunn. Additionally, Stoops brought in strength coaches Corey Edmond and Mark Hill to work specifically with the football team, and named Erick Harper as director of football operations. Kish was initially pegged for defensive ends, but will move to linebackers.

He also has brought Gene Johnson, head coach at Forest High School in Klein, Texas, since 2000, to become one of the team's offensive graduate assistant, and has lured former UA star linebacker Marcus Bell to become the defensive graduate assistant.

Canales, who turns 43 next week, lettered three years as a quarterback at Utah State from 1981-83, where he received his degree in 1984. He began his coaching career with a three-year stint as a graduate assistant at Brigham Young, working under then Cougar offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He was offensive coordinator and receivers coach for seven years at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, from 1988-94, then joined the staff at Pacific as quarterbacks coach in 1985.

When Pacific gave up football following that season, Canales served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of South Florida from 1996-2000, then became passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Carolina State for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, working with Phillip Rivers during his sophomore and junior seasons. He joined the Jets for the 2003 season.

Last year he worked with New York's Santana Moss and Curtis Conway, among others. Moss finished this year in the NFL's top 15 in receiving, with 74 catches for 1,105 yards, plus 10 touchdowns to tie for fourth in the league.

Tuiasosopo, 40, a Samoan native who grew up in California, played four years at Pacific Lutheran from 1985-88, starting at tackle his final three seasons. He was a first-team All-Columbia Conference selection as a junior and senior. Pacific Lutheran won the NAIA Division II national title his junior year and compiled a 36-7-2 mark during his career. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1989, then began coaching the following year at Montclair, Calif., Prep as defensive line and special teams coach.

He coached as a graduate assistant at Pacific in Stockton, Calif., in 1991 then coached linebackers at St. Mary's High School in Stockton in 1992, when he received a master's degree at Pacific. He then was head coach at Berkeley, Calif., High School for three years from 1993-95, earning Oakland Tribune Coach of the Year honors in 1994. Two of his star linemen, Hannibal Navies and Marcus Williams, went on the play at Colorado and Washington State and then professionally.

He joined the collegiate ranks as defensive line coach at Utah State from 1996-99, then moved to coach the defensive line at the University of Nevada for three years, 2000-02, before joining the Utah staff for the 2003 season. Utah was 10-2 this past year including a Liberty Bowl victory over Southern Mississippi. The Utes did not allow a point in their last 10 quarters of 2003 football.

He spent two summers serving National Football League minority internships, in 1997 with the San Francisco 49ers and in 2002 with the Green Bay Packers. At Utah State he coached three all-league linemen including '97 Big West Defensive Player of the Year, Ben Crosland, and coached Western Athletic Conference sack leader Jorge Cordova at Nevada in 2002.


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