Arizona Football

Mulitalo makes Arizona football history with hire as Southern Virginia head coach

Former Arizona offensive lineman Edwin Mulitalo has reached a level none of his Wildcat brethren have in the past.

The news went unnoticed in Tucson, but Mulitalo was hired as Southern Virginia’s head coach on March 30. I put some research into it and asked former players and members of the media and determined that Mulitalo’s hire makes him the first former Wildcat to become a head coach at the college level.

Mulitalo, an offensive lineman who played for Dick Tomey from 1997-98, is the first Arizona football player to become a head coach in college since Leslie Gillett was a player-coach at Arizona in 1902.

Edwin Mulitalo was a standout offensive lineman with the Arizona Wildcats in the late 1990’s.

As a Polynesian-American, Mulitalo also now joins Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo and Brigham Young University’s Kalani Sitake as one of three Polynesians to become an NCAA head football coach.

Southern Virginia, located at Buena Vista, Va., is a Division III private school aligned with values of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Edwin Mulitalo was the defensive coordinator for Southern Virginia the previous two years (Southern Virginia photo)

Mulitalo, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, is in his third year at Southern Virginia. The 10-year NFL veteran was the defensive coordinator for the Knights the previous two seasons. He replaced Joe DuPaix, who was hired by Niumatalolo at Navy as slotbacks coach.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with Joe at Southern Virginia and to be a part of this program,” Mulitalo said in a statement released by the school. “The whole process over the last two years has been great and I’m excited to step into this new role and opportunity to impact our players.

“I couldn’t have done this without my wife Laura. She followed me to Samoa and now to Virginia, and I’m grateful for her and all of our great family. I’m also thankful for Joe and his example to me. He’s a straight-arrow coach, and I was able to learn from him the attention to detail that running a program requires.”

Former Arizona teammate Kelvin Eafon, a sports radio personality in Tucson who also coaches youth basketball, said of Mulitalo’s hire: “It’s great. He is a really good guy and I think he will do anything to help those young men.”

Mulitalo is also the 33rd former Arizona athlete who is currently a head coach at either the high school, college or pro ranks. Here is a list of the 33:


High school boy’s basketball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Mike Bibby 1996-98 Phoenix Shadow Mountain 2014
Jason Stewart 1997-99 Encinitas (CA) San Dieguito 2014

Men’s college basketball (4)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Jason Gardner 1999-03 IUPUI 2014
Craig McMillan 1984-88 Santa Rosa (CA) JC 2000
Josh Pastner 1996-00 Georgia Tech 2016
Damon Stoudamire 1992-95 Pacific 2016

Men’s professional basketball (3)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Matt Brase 2003-05 Rio Grande (D-League) 2015
Steve Kerr 1983-88 Golden State (NBA) 2014
Luke Walton 1999-03 L.A. Lakers (NBA) 2016

College baseball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Tod Brown 1990-94 North Dakota State 2007
Bill Kinneberg 1979-80 Utah 2005

Professional baseball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Shelley Duncan 1999-01 Class A Visalia (CA) 2017
Terry Francona 1977-80 Cleveland (MLB) 2013

Women’s college basketball (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Brenda Frese 1989-93 Maryland 2002
Adia Barnes 1995-99 Arizona 2016

High school football (6)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Marcus Bell 1996-99 Eager Round Valley 2011
Robert Bonillas 1995-98 Desert View 2012
Mark Keel 1979-82 Silverdale (WA) Central Kitsap 2000
Scott McKee 1999-02 Sahuaro 2009
Clarence McRae 2003-04 Mountain View 2012
Brandon Sanders 1995-98 Pueblo 2014

College football (1)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Edwin Mulitalo 1995-98 Southern Virginia 2018

College softball (3)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Debby Day 1989-91 Cal-Lutheran 2002
Kristie Fox 2004-07 UNLV 2017
Jennifer Martinez 2008-09 Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College 2017

High school softball (5)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Amy Baray-Rocha 1999 Salpointe 2015
Jackie Coburn 2002-05 Scottsdale Horizon 2013
Krista Humphreys 1993-96 Corona (Calif.) Centennial 2015
Danielle Rodriguez 2006-08 Tucson 2010
Jody Pruitt 1990-93 Peoria Sunrise Mountain 2011

High school soccer (1)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Alex Davis 2003-07 Flowing Wells 2011

College women’s tennis (2)

Player Years/UA Team Start
Vicky Maes 1995-98 Arizona 2001
Danielle Steinberg 2005-09 Kansas State 2014
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