Cal Football: Bears' Defensive Line Coach Tuioti Leaves to Join Nebraska Staff

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox must find a new defensive line coachPhoto by James Snook - USA TODAY Sports
Jake Curtis

Cal has lost defensive line coach Tony Tuioti, who left to become Nebraska’s new defensive line coach, it was announced Tuesday.

Tuioti was not at Cal’s first spring practice on Monday, and he has joined a Cornhuskers’ staff that begins spring workouts in six days. At Nebraska, Tuitoti replaces Mike Dawkson, who left Nebraka to join the New York Giants’ staff.

It is unclear how Cal will replace Tuioti, who was given a lot of credit for the strong performance by the Bears’ defensive front three last season. This is a difficult time to find a replacement, so the Bears might opt to reassign coaching staff members to fill the void.

In his Twitter message, Tuioti said: "Thank you to the Cal football program for a great 2 years. Now looking forward to building something special with ~~@~~coach_frost and ~~@~~HuskerFBNation ~~#~~GoHuskers."

“We are pleased to add Tony Tuioti to our coaching staff and look forward to having him and his family join us at Nebraska,” Cornhuskers head coach Scott Frost said in a press release. “Tony has been a key part of one of the top defenses in the country the past two seasons at Cal. He will bring great energy to our staff, has a strong history of player development, and an impressive recruiting background.”

Tuioti, 42, coached Cal’s defensive linemen in 2018 and the team’s outside linebackers in 2017. He signed a two-year contract with Nebraska worth $375,000 a year, according to the Omaha World-Herald. That is $100,000 less than Dawson made last season, but it is about $100,000 more than the $276,500 Tuioti made at Cal last season, according to the USA Today assistant coaches salary database.

“I want to thank Coach Frost for the opportunity to be a part of the Nebraska football family,” Tuioti said in a press release. “I believe in what he is doing and the culture he is building at Nebraska and I am excited to be a part of it.”

Tuioti helped Cal rank third in the Pac-12 in both total defense (317.2 yards per game) and scoring defense (20.4 points per game) last season.

Ben Moos, the son of Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos, is a redshirt sophomore on the Golden Bears roster, and he told the World-Herald in a text, “Phenomenal coach and mentor to the entire group. Good person, bright mind and very talented recruiter.”

Former Cal player Rusty Beacker told the Lincoln Journal Star: “I’ll be real, even though he was only my position coach for a year, I feel like I’ve known him for a lot longer than that. Just the way he’s able to connect with all of us within that short period of time was just phenomenal.

“Every meeting we had it wasn’t always about football, it was what else was going on in our lives because he knows we’re not so one-dimensional. … It was really nice having him take a part in that and just being knowing that he cares for us as a football player but as the man that we become. I think that’s the biggest thing I took away from it was how he helped shape us into becoming men.”