By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
University of Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida announced yesterday Arizona offensive coordinator Duane Akina is one of eight finalists for the school's head football coaching job.
Eddie Inouie, special assistant to Yoshida, said the UA coach was in Honolulu Friday for recruiting purposes and that Yoshida and Akina had lunch together.
"He (Yoshida) told me he thought it was a good meeting," Inouie said.
Former head coach Bob Wagner and his staff were fired last week.
The news follows on the heels of the departure of another UA assistant, defensive line coach Rich Ellerson, who accepted the head coaching position at Division I-AA Southern Utah last week.
From 1981-85, Akina was an assistant coach at Hawaii under Dick Tomey, who brought Akina to Tucson when Tomey was hired as the Wildcat head coach in 1987. Akina could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Akina completed his ninth season at Arizona, his third as offensive coodinator and quarterbacks coach. He was also in charge of West Coast recruiting, including Hawaii.
Akina was prep athlete of the year in Hawaii at Honolulu's Punahou High School in 1975 before receiving a football scholarship to the University of Washington, where he earned three letters as quarterback under then-head coach Don James.
Inouie said the other candidates are: Brigham Young assistant coach Norm Chow; Honolulu's St. Louis High School football coach Cal Lee; Colorado defensive line coach Fred VonAppen; Ohio State defensive coordinator Bill Young; Adam Rita, a Canadian Football League coach and former assistant under Tomey at Hawaii; and current assistant coaches George Lumpkin and Kanani Souza.
VonAppen carries perhaps the most impressive credentials Ÿ he is the owner of two Super Bowl rings from his stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
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