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Wednesday February 28, 2001

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Akina spurns Cats for smaller role at Texas

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Longtime coach gone: Is trademark defense next?

Duane Akina, a key figure from the Dick Tomey era, left the UA program late Monday to coach defensive backs at Texas.

The coach, who was contacted about the job Friday, spent the weekend in Austin, Texas, meeting with Longhorns officials and chose to leave the UA program after talks with UA head coach John Mackovic Monday night.

"It's really difficult for me to do," Akina said yesterday from his Tucson home. "There is a lot of me that is in (the UA) program."

Akina, who joined Tomey's staff in 1987, was named the Wildcats' defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach shortly after Arizona hired head coach John Mackovic.

Mackovic offered the job to former defensive coordinator Rich Ellerson, who opted instead to become the head coach at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

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