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Arizona assistant Duane Akina joining Johnny Nansen at Texas after second stint with Wildcats

The second stop in Tucson didn’t last nearly as long as the first


There are now two openings on Arizona’s defensive coaching staff for 2024.

Secondary coach Duane Akina is joining fellow outgoing UA assistant Johnny Nansen at Texas for next season, according to Akina would take on a “prominent off-field role” with Steve Sarkisian’s program.

Nansen, who was Arizona’s defensive coordinator the past two seasons, is coaching linebackers for the Longhorns.

Akina, 67, spent one season with the Wildcats in his second go-around with the program, having coached under Dick Tomey both on offense and defense from 1987-2000. He’s also been at Texas before, as part of Mack Brown’s staffs from 2001-13.

Arizona’s defense saw a massive improvement in 2023, allowing 21.1 points per game a year after yielding 36.5. The secondary benefitted from Akina’s experience and expertise, particularly when the Wildcats would use a “dollar” package that featured seven defensive backs.

The only defensive coaches currently left at Arizona are Ricky Hunley (defensive line), Jason Kaufusi (defensive ends/outside linebackers), John Richardson (cornerbacks) and Chuck Cecil (safeties). The entire offensive staff remains intact, for now.