UH adds assistant, player
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The Hawaii Football Skills Camp opened yesterday with one participant resuming his relationship with the Warrior program and another looking ahead to starting his.
Tony Tuioti spent his first day as UH's director of football player personnel working at the camp. Among the teens absorbing the tips in the clinic was receiver Billy Ray Stutzmann, who has committed to join the Warriors following his graduation from Saint Louis School.
Tuioti, a UH defensive lineman from 1996 to 1999, lived in Las Vegas for the past three years, but jumped at the chance to return to Manoa as part of head coach Greg McMackin's staff. Tuioti's duties include assisting the staff with recruiting.
"I look at (McMackin) as a mentor," Tuioti said. "So when the call was made for me to come out here it was a no-brainer. So I'm just excited to be here and be able to help out and be a part of a program that I love."
Stutzmann, the younger brother of former UH slotback and current graduate assistant Craig Stutzmann, committed to UH following a junior year in which he earned second-team All-State honors.
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BARRY MARKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
New UH director of football player personnel Tony Tuioti helped head coach Greg McMackin at a clinic this weekend.
With six children and three years spent getting settled in Las Vegas, Tony Tuioti figured it would take a lot to get the family to pack up and relocate again.
Then Greg McMackin called.
"It was tough to leave," said Tuioti, a former Hawaii defensive lineman. "But the only thing that would bring me back home was to be able to work for the alma mater, especially to be able to work for Coach Mack."
Tuioti's hiring as the Warriors' director of football player personnel was officially announced yesterday and, though much of his first day of work was spent helping out at the UH Skills Camp, his primary duties will be coordinating the Warriors coaching staff's recruiting efforts and monitoring academics.
"(The coaches) have an eye for what they want," Tuioti said. "It's working closely with Coach Mack, organizing everything for them as they go out and start recruiting. There's a lot of things just to try to make the job as seamless as possible for the coaches to allow them to do what they need to do.
"The big thing is to communicate with the kids. We want to keep all the local kids at home. Coach Mack expressed that time and time again, that Hawaii is the No. 1 base for us."
Tuioti played at UH from 1996 to 1999, enduring the 0-12 season in 1998 and celebrating a WAC co-championship the following year. He stayed with the program as a graduate assistant for two years and later became the head coach at Kalaheo High School, leading the Mustangs for three seasons.
He then moved to Las Vegas - where both his parents and the parents of his wife, former UH volleyball player Keala (Nihipali), live - and served as defensive coordinator at Silverado High School last season.
"Tony is the perfect person for this position," McMackin said. "He's coached in Hawaii, California and Las Vegas and has a lot of ties with Samoa and Hawaii.
"Recruiting is the lifeblood of what we do here and his leadership and direction will help us in that area."
By accepting the administrative position, Tuioti knows he'll have to get used to being around the game without coaching players on the field.
"That was one of (McMackin's) biggest concerns, because he knows as a coach it's kind of hard to not be so hands-on now," Tuioti said. "I understand what my role is in this program. I've always been a team player, and just to have the opportunity to work with Coach Mack and work with all the other coaches is a blessing.
"I'm just excited to be back. I'd come back to do anything, even if it's to water the grass."
Tuioti coached three highly regarded players at Silverado who will be in the sights of recruiters from across the country, and attracting those types of players to Manoa is part of the challenge Tuioti is looking forward to.
"You have to be able to go out and win recruiting battles, kids that have offers with other schools," he said. "We have to win those. We're going to try to raise the bar and be competitive.
"The biggest thing is winning solves all problems with recruiting. The more we win, the easier it is for us to recruit and get people to come here. My job is just the organizational piece and creating a structure for our coaches to make things a lot easier for them."
The UH Skills Camp drew 329 players on its first day, and registrations for the clinic, which concludes Friday, are still being accepted at a prorated fee. The Big Man Camp, geared toward offensive and defensive linemen, is set for next week Monday through Wednesday. The fee is $60. Registration information is available at HawaiiAthletics.com
or by calling 956-4516.