Former Arizona and NFL standout Joe Salave'a has been hired to coach the Wildcats' defensive line, replacing Mike Tuiasosopo, who took a job at Colorado.
Salave'a, 35, who played nine years in the NFL, lettered at Arizona as a defensive tackle from 1994-97, serving as team captain in 1996. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in 1995, second-team honors in 1996 and was a first-team selection in 1997.
Salave'a has been out of coaching and football for the past year, living in Las Vegas, but was San Jose State's defensive line coach in 2008 and 2009.
"I'm really excited to have him join the staff," coach Mike Stoops said in a statement. "He fits what we're doing very well. He has a solid history and comes highly recommended. Joe built a legacy here and in the NFL that will have an immediate impact on our players and in recruiting."
A couple of things to like about the hire: 1. Salave'a's recent NFL pedigree will get players' attention, both in recruiting and as a coach; 2. Salave'a, a native of Leone, American Samoa, will keep the Wildcats Polynesian pipeline open in recruiting, just as Tuiasosopo did.
Stoops said his 2011 staff won't be complete until sometime in January. He also needs to replace Greg Brown, the Wildcats' co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach, who also left for Colorado.
Salave'a will start Monday and help prepare the Wildcats for their Dec. 29 appearance in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Stoops will take over for Brown in the secondary.