Saying he wants to "head back and finish the chapter there," Duane Akina left the University of Texas on Monday to accept a job with the Arizona Wildcats.
The move, which is expected to be announced by the UA today, gives head coach Mike Stoops the veteran assistant coach he craved following a disappointing finish to the 2010 season.
Akina returns to a place where he spent the formative years of his coaching career. Akina spent 14 seasons (1987 to 2000) in Tucson as Dick Tomey's most trusted assistant; Akina served as secondary coach, associate head coach and, in somewhat of a rarity, both offensive and defensive coordinator.
Akina was retained by UA coach John Mackovic when he replaced Tomey after the 2000 season, but Akina left for Texas during spring drills.
Akina said in a statement issued by the Longhorns that he wanted to return to the West Coast area.
"When this opportunity came up, I felt like the window was there and it's the right fit," he said. "It's been a great 10 years at Texas. I've met so many great fans and people through this program that I'll always appreciate the time I had there, but going to back to Arizona was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. It allows me to get closer to a lot of friends and family and to hopefully help a program that has been such a big part of my life in any little way I can."
Akina, 54, replaces secondary coach Greg Brown, who left last month for the University of Colorado.
It's unknown if Arizona will match Akina's Texas salary. He made $290,000 last year, $60,000 more than Brown did at the UA.
Akina's addition means the Wildcats 2011 staff will have a throwback feel - and more coaching experience than any in Stoops' tenure. Former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae was hired a week ago to coach the Wildcats offensive line. UA star Joe Salave'a joined the staff before the Alamo Bowl as defensive tackles coach.
All three got their starts under Tomey.
"I have such deep roots with all those guys, but none of them compare to my roots with Duane," Tomey said Monday from his home in Hawaii. "It's exciting. I'm rooting for the Arizona Wildcats anyway, but this makes it even more personal."