I knew Anae before he was "somebody" – before he was the first Kahuku High School grad to coach Div. 1 football; before he enrolled at BYU and earned his undergraduate and PhD degrees; and before he was an All-WAC Conference offensive line performer on the Cougars' only national championship team in 1984.
Forget that Anae, as Tech's three-year offensive line coach, maintains a pivotal role for the country's No. 1 ranked offense last season and the second most productive offense ever in college football history – and that was against eight bowl teams.
Forget that Anae has dreamed of one day returning to coach at his alma mater in Provo.
Forget that Anae, who currently bleeds Texas Tech red, is still a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool BYU fan and supporter – and always will be.
Forget that Anae would be a phenomenal addition to Crowton's team of extremely effective recruiters. Notably, Anae was singled out by Ofa Mohetau's mother, Siva, in late 2002 as the only other college recruiter they bonded with next to Crowton and BYU assistant Steve Kaufusi.
Forget that Anae has family ties to BYU that go back to 1954 when his father, Famika Anae, was one of BYU's first Polynesian gridiron greats.
Forget that Anae is highly respected as a player's coach with a fine-tuned combination of fiery motivation, firmness and intensity – while still gaining and maintaining the trust, confidence and loyalty of his young charges.
Forget that Anae has gained extensive knowledge from innumerable lessons in 15 years of coaching stints at Kahuku High School, University of Hawaii, BYU, Ricks College, Boise State, UNLV and now Texas Tech.
I spoke this weekend to both Anae and his wife, Liane. Everything she said was off the record. Everything he said revealed little except the fact he has been in contact with BYU head coach Gary Crowton about the possibility of returning to BYU in a coaching capacity. No job offer was extended.
Anae provided a politically correct statement designed not to ruffle any feathers in Provo or Lubbock (Tex.): "I've always had an interest in BYU, but it would be best for me not to comment. When it comes to BYU, my alma mater, all my memories are great, awesome and positive," he said.
Though he said he had a number of phone conversations with Crowton, he confirmed he has not yet interviewed in person with the Cougars head coach. "Right now, I'm totally preoccupied with recruiting and I can imagine how busy he (Crowton) is also with LOI day approaching."
If he has made contact with Anae, we can safely assume Crowton also has feelers out there for other top-notch offensive coordinator/offensive line candidates as he should. If Bronco Mendenhall is any indication, I have confidence Crowton will hire the best man for the job.
I mention offensive coordinator for the simple reason that I don't know that Anae would consider a purely lateral move to the non-BCS, lower profile "mid-major MWC to be just another offensive line coach – even for BYU. The man that I know would want to assume full responsibility and accept full blame implementing and executing Crowton's proven, potent and prolific offensive scheme, circa 2001.
At the very least, BYU alum Robert Anae deserves the opportunity to interview in person with Crowton and whomever else is in the hiring loop for a position the Cougars must show dramatic and immediate improvement in this fall.
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