Provo • Two weeks after LSU running game coordinator and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes accepted the offensive coordinator position at BYU, head coach Kalani Sitake announced the hiring of three new offensive assistant coaches.
Former Utah offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick will be the passing game coordinator, while Weber State offensive coordinator Fesi Sitake and Texas-San Antonio OL coach Ryan Pugh will on the offensive staff. Their specific positions were not announced.
Tight ends coach Steve Clark will remain on the staff; Running backs coach Reno Mahe, offensive line coach Mike Empey and receivers coach Ben Cahoon were not retained.
Two-year offensive coordinator Ty Detmer was relieved of his duties on Nov. 27, two days after the Cougars beat Hawaii 30-20 to finish with a 4-9 record.
In a school news release, BYU said it will hire an additional assistant coach in January. The NCAA is allowing schools to hire a 10th coach beginning Jan. 9.
The BYU release said specific position responsibilities on the staff will be announced once that new position is filled.
Mahe had announced on social media earlier Wednesday that he was leaving the program.
His announcement via Twitter said that he is “excited to watch the new direction of the program and even more excited to open this new chapter and see where my next adventure leads.”
Neither Empey nor Cahoon had acknowledged the changes via social media as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Detmer cleaned out his office weeks ago and was not expected to stay on the staff, although the announcement of his release in November left open that possibility.
“Coaching at BYU has been an amazing chapter in my life and I have made memories and friendships that will last forever,” wrote Mahe, a former Brighton High star who played five seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.
Last November, Mahe’s daughter, 3-year-old Elsie, died after sustaining a household accident.
“Also much love to Cougar Nation,” Mahe continued. “Thank you for supporting me through the loss of my sweet Elsie. I can never repay that debt, but will forever be loyal, strong and true.”
Grimes won’t turn his attention full time to his new BYU position until after he concludes his duties coaching LSU’s offensive line in the Citrus Bowl on Monday as the Tigers take on Notre Dame.
That Kalani Sitake is bringing in his cousin, Fesi Sitake, and Roderick is not a surprise considering the hirings have been rumored for several weeks. The hiring of Pugh, who spent three years as a graduate assistant under Grimes, is a mild surprise.
Roderick has been seen at several BYU games and practices the past season.
“I have worked on the same staff with Aaron for 12 years, so I know firsthand how Aaron’s versatility and experience will be a tremendous asset to our staff,” Kalani Sitake said. “He brings valuable play-calling and coordinating experience and his ability to teach the game is impressive. As we all know, Aaron played here (1996-98) as well so I’m happy to welcome Aaron back to BYU.”
The Sitakes refer to themselves as brothers because Kalani helped raise his cousin in their boyhood days.
“Fesi is one of the game’s up-and-coming young coordinators. He has done a great job with his opportunities to build a strong resume and improved his team wherever he has been,” Kalani Sitake said. “He is an excellent recruiter and excels as a mentor to his players. I’m excited to have him come to BYU and help teach the young men in our program.”
Pugh, 29, joins the staff with six years of experience. Along with coaching under Grimes at Auburn in 2012, he coached at Virginia Tech in 2013, Cincinnati in 2014 and LSU in 2015, again under Grimes.
“Ryan is an impressive young coach with great leadership qualities and a championship mindset. Jeff coached Ryan as a player at Auburn, where he was an All-American center,” Kalani Sitake said. “Ryan knows well what Jeff strives to accomplish as a coach.”
Roderick, 44, returns to Provo with 18 years of coaching experience, including seven seasons as a coordinator. He previously coached at Utah, Southern Utah, Snow College and BYU.
Fesi Sitake, 31, has been a coordinator for five seasons, the past two at Weber State.
Clark coached BYU’s tight ends the past two seasons, where he helped tight end Matt Bushman become a freshman All-American. Bushman led freshmen tight ends in the country with 49 catches for 520 yards.