One of the most well-respected assistant coaches from the Mack Brown era is expected to return to the Texas Longhorns program as an analyst for head coach Steve Sarkisian, according to multiple reports on Sunday.
A native of Hawaii who played quarterback at Washington in the 1970s, Akina joined Brown’s staff as the defensive backs coach in 2001, a position that he held in various capacities until 2013, including titles as associate head coach and three years as the co-defensive coordinator. During that time, Akina helped establish Texas as DBU by producing a litany of standouts in the secondary — three Thorpe Award winners, six more finalists, 12 All-Americans, and 41 NFL players, seven of whom earned All-Pro honors.
Akina came to Texas from Arizona, where he coached for 14 seasons, including developing the famed “Desert Swarm” defenses under Dick Tomey that featured Thorpe Award winner Darryl Lewis in 1990 and finalist Cris McAlister in 1998, who was also named the Mosi Tatupu National Special Teams Player of the Year. With the Wildcats, Akina started as the defensive backs coach, became the offensive coordinator, and then moved back to the other side of the ball as the defensive coordinator.
After leaving the Forty Acres, Akina coached the defensive backs at Stanford from 2014-22 before spending a season as an analyst back at Arizona, where he worked with Johnny Nansen, who just took over as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Texas.
Akina is known for his ability to develop physical defensive backs who excel playing man coverage, the same type of philosophy that Sarkisian has spent the last several years working with defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski to install with the Longhorns, making Akina a perfect fit to take a talented secondary to the next level in a role that makes sense for the longtime assistant at the age of 67.