"I know this has been difficult for everyone involved, but when Mack (Brown) and I talked about the opportunity, and considering what a difficult month it has been for me and my family, I thought it was a move I needed to make," Akina said. "I went to Arizona to be closer to my family and some of those circumstances changed. Also, having younger children who grew up here and loved Austin made the move to Arizona difficult. All of those factors played key roles in my decision to return.
"I'm really excited to be coming back and am looking forward to getting to work with Manny (Diaz) and the defensive staff with spring ball right around the corner," Akina said. "There are so many things about Texas that you can take for granted after being there for a while, so getting back, with a fresh start, will really be fun for me. I can't thank Mack, DeLoss (Dodds) and everyone at Texas enough for allowing me to return."
Brown said Monday that the Akina's return was welcomed with open arms.
"We're so excited to have Duane back," Brown said. "Like everyone within our program, he will be starting out with a fresh, new, clean slate. That has been our primary focus in moving forward, and we have a lot of positive energy in the program. Duane and I talked about that, and he is really looking forward to getting back here and being a part of it. You can't imagine the excitement I've already heard from the players to have back one of their favorite coaches since we've been here. He's a guy who, with spring ball starting, can hit the ground running. He can also play a significant role with our special teams.
"We're disappointed we lost Jerry, but he left for a great opportunity that he just couldn't pass up," Brown said. "Jerry will remain a great friend of mine and of Texas. He's a great Longhorn and always will be. We're happy for him and his family, but are very fortunate to be replacing a great coach who will have a bunch of success in Tennessee with someone we all know and love so much in Duane."