Kalani Sitake

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Kalani Sitake
Current position
TitleHead coach
Biographical details
Born (1975-10-10) October 10, 1975 (age 43)
Nukuʻalofa, Tonga
Alma materBYU
Playing career
1994, 1997–2000BYU
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2001Eastern Arizona (DB/ST)
2002BYU (GA)
2003Southern Utah (RB/TE)
2004Southern Utah (OL/TE)
2005–2008Utah (LB)
2009–2011Utah (DC/LB)
2012–2014Utah (AHC/DC/LB)
2015Oregon State (AHC/DC)
Head coaching record

Kelaokalani Fifita "Kalani" Sitake (born October 10, 1975) is an American football coach and former player. He has been the head football coach at Brigham Young University (BYU) since December 2015.[1][2] Sitake is the first Tongan to become a collegiate football head coach.[3] Sitake played college football as a fullback at BYU, under coach LaVell Edwards and graduated in 2000.

Early life[edit]

Sitake was born in Tonga. His family emmigrated to the United States when he was a child, living in Laie, Hawaii. He went to high school in Kirkwood, Missouri.

College career[edit]

Sitake began his BYU playing career in 1994 prior to serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Oakland, California. After returning and redshirting in 1997, Sitake was a three-year starter at fullback for the Cougars from 1998–2000 under legendary BYU head coach LaVell Edwards. He was named BYU’s Football Scholar Athlete of the Year in 1998, helped the Cougars to the first Mountain West Conference championship in 1999, and earned BYU's Impact Player of the Year in 1999. In 2000, Sitake was named team captain and BYU's most valuable running back. He completed his career amassing 373 yards rushing on 86 carries (4.3 ypc), and 536 yards receiving on 62 receptions for one touchdown.

Professional career[edit]

Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

Following his collegiate career, Sitake signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2001. His career ended due to a back injury.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Sitake got his start as an assistant coach during the 2001 season when he worked as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator at Eastern Arizona College. In 2002, he returned to his alma mater, BYU, as a graduate assistant for the defense. From 2003 to 2004, he worked at Southern Utah University. During the 2003 season, he was the running backs and tight ends coach; he coached the offensive line and tight ends during the 2004 season.

His tenure at the University of Utah started in 2005, where he coached the linebackers, until being promoted to defensive coordinator on December 7, 2008. His formal duties began on January 3, 2009. Sitake became the first native Tongan named as a defensive coordinator at an NCAA FBS school, following the resignation of the previous defensive coordinator, Gary Andersen.[5]

On December 23, 2014, Oregon State University announced Sitake's hiring as the team's new defensive coordinator and Assistant Head Coach.[6] This reunited Sitake with Oregon State's head coach, Andersen, whom Sitake had previously worked with at Utah.

On December 19, 2015, after Bronco Mendenhall coached BYU for the final time in the Las Vegas Bowl, BYU named Sitake as the team's new head coach.[7]

On September 3, 2016, Sitake's head coaching career began with BYU facing Arizona in the Cactus Kickoff in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The Cougars won, 18–16.[8] BYU then lost three games in a row to a 1–3 start. They then won four games in a row, including a road victory at Michigan State and a homecoming win against Mississippi State. Sitake eventually finished his first regular season 8–4, leading BYU to a 12th consecutive bowl game. The four losses were by a combined eight points.

Personal life[edit]

Sitake is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[9] After his freshman year at BYU in 1994, Sitake served an LDS mission in the California Oakland Mission.[10] He has a bachelor's degree in English from BYU. He and his wife, Timberly, are the parents of three children.[11]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Bowl/playoffs
BYU Cougars (NCAA Division I FBS independent) (2016–present)
2016 BYU 9–4 W Poinsettia
2017 BYU 4–9
2018 BYU 7–6 W Famous Idaho Potato
BYU: 20–19
Total: 20–19


  1. ^ "BYU Names Sitake new Head Coach". ESPN. Retrieved 2015-12-19.
  2. ^ Mizell, Gina (December 19, 2015). "Kalani Sitake hired as BYU's head coach". The Oregonian. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Walker, Sean (December 19, 2015). "BYU names Sitake as 13th head football coach in program history". KSL. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  4. ^ https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865643733/Who-is-Kalani-Sitake-Heres-a-look-at-his-coaching-career.html
  5. ^ "Kalani Sitake Bio". Official Website of Utah Athletics. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
  6. ^ "Gary Andersen Names Assistants". OSU Athletics. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
  7. ^ "BYU to name Oregon State DC Kalani Sitake new head coach". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2015-12-19.
  8. ^ http://www.ksl.com/?nid=272&sid=41340832&title=oldroyds-late-kick-sends-byu-to-18-16-win-over-arizona
  9. ^ Salt Lake Tribune article on Sitake
  10. ^ BYU athletics bio of Sitake
  11. ^ University of Utah bio of Sitake

External links[edit]