Football Coaching Staff
Tony Tuioti
Defensive Line Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Defensive Line Coach
Hometown: Santa Ana, Calif.
High School: Foothill
Alma Mater: Hawai'i
Graduating Year: 2000

Tony Tuioti joined the Nebraska coaching staff just prior to spring practice. He brings a rich and diverse coaching background into his first season as the Huskers' defensive line coach in 2019.

Tuioti boasts 17 years of experience at every level of football. He is in his ninth season as a collegiate assistant, and he was an NFL defensive line coach for two years. Tuioti also spent three years coaching in the high school ranks, including two seasons as a head coach. In addition to his experience as an on-field coach, Tuioti has three years of experience in recruiting administration at the FBS level.

Tuioti has emerged as one of the nation's top young coaches, spending the past six seasons coaching in either the NFL or a Power Five Conference, including stints at two of the six winningest programs in college football history (Michigan and Nebraska). He helped orchestrate an impressive defensive turnaround at Cal the past two seasons. The Bears ranked 15th nationally in total defense in 2018, with Tuioti's defensive line combining for more than 120 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks. Overall, Cal ranked in the top 10 nationally in four defensive categories in 2018.

Before Nebraska

CAL: Tuioti came to Nebraska after spending two seasons at Cal. He coached the Bears’ defensive line in 2018, after tutoring the outside linebackers in 2017. At Cal, Tuioti was part of a defensive staff that produced a dramatic turnaround with the Bear defense.

In 2018, Cal ranked in the top 10 nationally in passing defense, interceptions, takeaways and defensive touchdowns, while ranking in the top 20 in total defense, pass efficiency defense and first downs allowed. Tuioti’s defensive line played a major role in those lofty rankings. Cal’s three starting defensive linemen - which included converted offensive lineman Chris Palmer - set career highs in nearly every category under Tuioti’s tutelage while combining for 123 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and nine breakups.

Luc Bequette was an honorable-mention All-Pac 12 selection after tying for the team lead with 5.0 sacks, while Palmer was second on the team with six breakups and Tevin Paul totaled a team-high 11.0 TFLs.

In his first season at Cal in 2017, Tuioti’s outside linebackers played a key role on a Bears’ defense that improved by an average of 40 spots in the 15 primary team defensive statistical categories ranked by the NCAA. His group combined for 11.0 sacks and two of his four starters registered at least 4.5 sacks. Alex Funches also led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss.

MICHIGAN: Prior to Cal, Tuioti spent the 2016 season in the Big Ten Conference as Michigan’s director of player personnel. The Wolverines posted a 10-3 record and earned a final No. 10 ranking in Tuioti’s lone season at the school. Tuioti’s efforts helped Michigan land the No. 3 recruiting class in the country, and he also played a critical role in developing the relationships for a satellite camp tour in the summer of 2016 that included American Samoa, Australia and Hawaii among nearly 40 locations.

CLEVELAND BROWNS: Before joining the Wolverines, Tuioti was an assistant with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and 2015, serving as the Browns’ assistant defensive line and quality control coach. In his first season, Cleveland led the NFL in opponent completion percentage, opposing quarterback passer rating and passes defended, while ranking second in interceptions. In his final year with the Browns, Tuioti helped rookie defensive tackle Danny Shelton finish with 36 tackles and four TFLs.

HAWAII: Tuioti’s first experience as a full-time member of a collegiate staff came at his alma mater. He spent six seasons at Hawaii from 2008 to 2013, first serving as the Rainbow Warriors’ director of player personnel for two seasons, before coaching the defensive line for the next two years and tutoring the linebackers in his final two seasons.

In his first season as the defensive line coach, Hawaii won a share of the 2010 Western Athletic Conference championship. Hawaii led the nation in takeaways that season, Tuioti’s defensive line produced 22.5 of the team’s 30 sacks. The pressure from the defensive line was a big reason why the Rainbow Warriors tied for 15th in sacks per game the next season. Tuioti worked with the linebackers the next season, when Hawaii ranked 11th nationally in pass defense. In his final season, Tuioti’s linebackers led the squad in tackles, TFLs and sacks, and the Rainbow Warriors ranked third nationally in tackles for loss and eighth in fumble recoveries.

KALAHEO & SILVERADO HIGH SCHOOLS: Tuioti’s first full-time coaching job came in the high school ranks. He served as the head coach of Kalaheo High School in Honolulu in 2003 and 2004. Tuioti inherited a winless Kalaheo team and led the Mustangs to the playoffs for the first time in his inaugural season as the youngest varsity head coach in the state. 

After two years at Kalaheo, Tuioti moved to Las Vegas to pursue a second master’s degree and in 2017, he returned to coaching as the defensive coordinator for a Silverado High School team that finished 10-1 and was undefeated in the regular season while winning a division title.

HAWAII: Tuioti got his start in the coaching profession at Hawaii as a defensive graduate assistant in 2000 and 2001. He transitioned to the sideline after a four-year career as a standout defensive lineman for the Rainbow Warriors from 1996 to 1999. 

Playing Career (Hawaii)

He was an honorable-mention All-WAC defensive lineman as a junior and as a senior, Tuioti was a key leader for a team that tied for the largest one-year turnaround in NCAA history, going from 0-12 the previous season to a 9-4 mark that included a share of the WAC title. He was one of two Rainbow Warriors to win a WAC championship both as a player (1999) and coach (2010). Tuioti also played in the 2000 Hula Bowl following his senior season.


Tuioti earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hawaii in 2000 before adding a master’s degree in education administration in 2002. Tuioti also completed work on a second master’s degree in special education from UNLV in 2007. He and his wife, Keala, have three daughters, Teisa, Teiyana and Teinia and four sons, Teivis, Teilor, Teitum and Teimana.

Coaching Career

2019-present: Nebraska, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)

2018: Cal, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
2017: Cal, Assistant Coach (Outside Linebackers)
2016: Michigan, Director of Player Personnel
2014-15: Cleveland Browns, Assistant Coach (Assistant Defensive Line/Quality Control)
2012-13: Hawaii, Assistant Coach, Linebackers
2010-11: Hawaii, Assistant Coach, Defensive Line
2008-09: Hawaii, Director of Player Personnel
2007: Silverado (Nevada) High School, Defensive Coordinator
2003-04: Kalaheo (Hawaii) High School, Head Coach
2000-01: Hawaii, Graduate Assistant (Defense)