Former Texas Longhorns defensive backs coach Duane Akina is remaining with the Arizona Wildcats after his flirtation with returning to the Forty Acres, but head coach Steve Sarkisian did fill the role of defensive backs analyst by hiring William Gay on Saturday.
At 39 years old and with limited coaching experience, Gay is on the opposite end of his coaching career from the 67-year-old Akina, but boasts an impressive resume as a player.
A standout on both sides of the ball at Rickards High School in Tallahassee as well as a track standout, Gay played his college football at Louisville before he was picked in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning the Super Bowl the following season after moving into the cornerback rotation. After one season with Arizona in 2023, Gay returned to Pittsburgh for five seasons, ultimately returning five touchdowns for interceptions in his career with the Steelers. In Gay’s career, he played in 176 games with 101 starts, recording 577 tackles, 13 interceptions, and 10 forced fumbles.
After Gay’s playing career ended with a year on the practice squad for the New York Giants in 2018 before spending a year as a coaching intern for the Steelers. In 2020, Gay spent a year as the defensive backs coach at Missouri State working for his college head coach Bobby Petrino.