He confirmed last night that University of Colorado graduate assistant Mickey Pruitt will replace Trent Miles, who left last week for Fresno State.
"I almost signed him last year, but we didn't ha ve any room on our staff," vonAppen said last night. "He's a great addition for our staff; a very knowledgeable and outgoing coach, who will definitely help us in recruiting."
Pruitt was an all-Big Eight safety for the Buffaloes in 1987 before joining the Chicago Bears the following season. He played rover and outside linebacker in the Bears' famed 46 defense under Mike Ditka until 1990.
The 31-year-old was signed by Jimmy Johnson of the Dallas Cowboys in 1991. Pruitt left the following season, but not before collecting a Super Bowl ring in the 52-17 rout of Buffalo in January of 1993.
"He went into the business sector for a couple of years, before joining the Colorado staff as a graduate assistant," vonAppen said. "He helped in the secondary at Colorado and will be our defensive backs coach here."
VonAppen also visited with former NFL and Rainbows standout Rich Miano last week, but both agreed that this wasn't the best time for him.
"First of all, he would have to get rid of that restaurant he owns because that would be a conflict for a college coach," vonAppen said. "Plus, I'm not sure Rich is ready to be a full-time coach."
VonAppen is fairly sure Miles will be the only coach to leave his staff. Offensive line coach Walt Klinker had received some interest from the University of Kansas, but hasn't gotten a firm offer from coach Terry Allen.
As for Pruitt, this will be his first full-time coaching job at this level. He and vonAppen met in 1995 when vonAppen was the Buffaloes' defensive line coach.
Also, Manly Kanoa III, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound offensive tackle from Kamehameha, verbally committed to the Rainbows yesterday after a campus visit.
"I think the only way for the program to go is up," said Kanoa, who has 3.5 grade-point average and an SAT score of 1280.
"I like the coaching staff and I am happy for the opportunity to help the Rainbows," he said.
Academically capable of being accepted at many mainland schools, Kanoa also had considered Dartmouth and Princeton.