“Tony has a tremendous resume that showcases his diverse skill set and abilities both on and off the field,” Wilcox said in a statement. “Not only is he an excellent coach, but the experience he has as a director of player personnel will be a tremendous benefit to us in the structuring and organization of our recruiting operation. Finding someone with a skill set as unique and diverse as Tony’s is challenging. We are fortunate that we have found that in Tony and are looking forward to his contributions to our program.”
Tuioti had left Michigan in December to coach defensive line at Fresno State, but during a one-on-one earlier this week, Wilcox told BearTerritory -- without revealing Tuioti's name -- that there were "some complicated things that need to be worked out, so it's taking a little bit longer." Presumably, that was Tuioti's exit from a new agreement with Fresno State.
“Working at Cal for a coach like Justin Wilcox was an opportunity I could not pass up,” Tuioti said in an official release. “I have a tremendous feeling about the positive direction Cal is headed, and I really wanted to be a part of that and contribute all I could to a football program with tremendous potential.”
During his one season in Ann Arbor in 2016, Tuioti headed Jim Harbaugh's recruiting department, and helped to secure commitments from each of the top six ranked in-state recruits as part of a 2017 class that ranked as the No. 3 class in the nation.
Tuioti was also part of setting up the vaunted satellite camp tour -- Harbaugh's Summer Swarm -- that included Amreican Samoa, Australia and Hawaii, among almost 40 locations. Before Michigan, Tuioti spent two seasons in the NFL, serving as an assistant defensive line and quality control coach with the Cleveland Browns. While in Cleveland, Tuioti helped the Browns' 2014 defense to rank second in the NFL in interceptions, fourth in takeaways (29), ninth in points allowed (21.1), first in opponent completion percentage (57.1%), opposing quarterback passer rating (74.1) and passes defended (99).
Before his stint in Cleveland, Tuioti coached at his alma mater, Hawaii, as the Warriors' recruiting coordinator, linebackers coach (2012-13) and defensive line coach (2010-11). He started as director of player personnel from 2008-09.
During Tuioti's time coaching his alma mater, Hawaii's 2010 team led the nation in takeaways (38), and in 2011, the Warriors were tied for 15th nationally in sacks per game (2.69). In 2012, Hawaii was 11th in passing defense (182.8 yards per game), and in 2013, the Warriors were third in tackles for loss per game (8.3) and eighth in fumbles recovered (15).
The Bears, under Art Kaufman, were abysmal against the run last season. Cal was 127th in the nation in rushing yards per game (272.9) and 128th in rushing yards per carry (6.16). The Bears were 127th in scoring defense (42.6 points per game), 82nd in passing yards allowed per game (245.4), 107th in passing efficiency defense (145.84), 105th in team sacks (18) and 125th in total defense, giving up 518.3 yards per game. Cal's 67 offensive touchdowns allowed were the most in the nation.
Under Tuioti, Hawaii in 2010 did not allow a 100-yard rusher in conference play, and tied a school record with five defensive touchdowns, ranking second in school history in total defense (357.6 ypg) and rushing defense (135.9). In 2013, his linebackers led the team in total tackles, tackles for loss and sacks.
Before starting his full-time collegiate coaching career, Tuioti was the defensive coordinator at Las Vegas (Nev.) Silverado in 2007, where he presided over a 10-0 regular-season record. He also spent two seasons as the head coach at Kalaheo High School in Hawaii in 2003-04 -- helping the Mustangs reach the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, as the youngest varsity head coach in the state -- before moving to Las Vegas to pursue a Master's degree.
Tuioti was a four-year letter-winner at Hawaii, an honorable mention All-WAC defensive lineman in 1998 as a junior. He then served as a graduate assistant from 2000-01.
Tuioti completes Wilcox's full-time staff, though in a one-on-one conversation with BearTerritory this week, Wilcox indicated that he will be keeping abreast of new NCAA legislation proposing the addition of a 10th full-time assistant, as he does not have an inside linebackers coach, or a running backs coach.
Wilcox also indicated that he and his staff -- including defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter -- had discussed ways to fill those needs internally, based on past coaching experience, which may very well mean that he or DeRuyter take to coaching the inside linebackers.