BYU Football head coach Kalani Sitake announced the hiring of former cougar football standout Harvey Unga in March. He will replace AJ Steward - who is now coaching at the University of Arizona - as the new running backs coach.
Before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2010 Supplemental NFL Draft, Unga concluded his BYU career with 3,455 rushing yards – a school record at the time. Throughout his BYU career, he averaged 4.96 yards per carry for a total of 36 rushing TDs. He also recorded 1,085 yards receiving – averaging 10.64 yards per catch – with nine receiving touchdowns in the blue and white.
Unga has been an offensive graduate assistant coach for the Cougars since 2015. “I am excited to announce Harvey Unga as our running backs coach,” Sitake said. “Harvey is a great young coach who was an elite player for BYU and is an extremely humble person. He knows the game, relates well to the players, and has done an outstanding job the past four years on our staff. We are excited to have him step into this role, and know he will excel in helping the young men in our program learn, grow and develop.”
In his four seasons as a graduate assistant, Unga has spent considerable amounts of time helping coach and develop running backs, wide receivers, and the offensive line.
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity. It has been a dream of mine to coach at BYU and also coach the position I played,” Unga said, “The boys on the team have all been supportive of me, and I can’t wait to help them achieve their goals” (byucougars.com).
Unga, a Provo native and Timpview High School alum, had some of his best performances against the University of Utah, who the Cougars have not beaten in 10 seasons. In each of his three matchups against the Utes he rushed for more than 100 yards for a total of four touchdowns. Against ranked opponents, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
His wife, Keilani Unga – former BYU Basketball player – is an assistant coach for the Utah Valley women’s basketball team.
What He Brings as a Coach:
Harvey Unga will bring his Cougar legacy with him on the recruiting trail. Not only can he speak to his time at BYU, the players (and their families) probably remember when Harvey Unga was a star running back at BYU.
2. Knowledge of the system:
Harvey has been a GA at BYU for as long as Kalani Sitake has been the head coach. Harvey knows the system on offense as well as anyone on the staff.
3. Connecting with players:
As soon as AJ Steward left for Arizona, he recommended Harvey Unga as his replacement. The players, both current and former, were also clear that Unga was their top choice. Harvey's ability to connect with players will serve him very well during his time at BYU.
Want to share opinions or ask questions? We want to hear them! Making a profile is free and it only takes ~1 minute to set up. Also, be sure to like us on social media for future coverage:
Facebook - @BYUSportsIllustrated
Instagram - @BYU_SI