Duane Akina named Arizona Wildcats defensive coordinator under Brent Brennan

Jan 24, 2024, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:08 pm

Arizona Wildcats Duane Akina senior defense assistant/secondary...

Arizona Wildcats Duane Akina senior defense assistant/secondary yelling at his players during a college football game between the Arizona Wildcats against the USC Trojans on October 07, 2023, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA.(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Arizona Wildcats under new head coach Brent Brennan have officially named Duane Akina as their next defensive coordinator.’s Jason Scheer and’s Scott Roussel were first to report the hire.

Akina, who served as a defensive analyst under coach Jedd Fisch last year, was reportedly expected to leave Arizona to join the Texas Longhorns, following 2023 Arizona DC Johnny Nansen there.

Instead, the 67-year-old Akina will return to work under his third head coach with the Wildcats.

Akina served under Dick Tomey for the head coach’s entire run in Tucson from 1987-2000, working as defensive backs coach, associate head coach and even offensive coordinator.

Akina then spent 2001-13 at Texas under Mack Brown, holding similar titles before jumping to Stanford from 2014-22 to coach defensive backs under David Shaw. He returned to the Wildcats last year under Fisch but appeared to be departing after a single season — that was before Fisch jumped to take the head-coaching job with the Washington Huskies.

Akina has coached three Thorpe Award winners, six finalists and 12 All-American defensive backs in his career.

Brennan said at his introductory press conference Wednesday that he had a “decent commitment” from Akina to return in some capacity.

“Just the teacher he is, the person he is, the leader he is, I’m excited about that,” Brennan told reporters.

Brennan was a graduate assistant at Arizona in 2000 under Tomey and worked with Akina.

The Wildcats also have reportedly added Bobby Wade as wide receivers coach. He played at Arizona from 1999-2022 and is the program’s all-time receiving yards leader (3,351).

Wade spent the past two years at Arizona State coaching receivers under head coaches Herm Edwards, interim Shaun Aguano and then Kenny Dillingham.


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