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Football Adds Kauha'aha'a to Coaching Staff

Dec 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly announced Friday the hiring of Chad Kauha'aha'a ("cow-HA-ah-HA-ah"), who most recently spent two seasons on the UNLV staff, as a defensive assistant coach. Kauha'aha'a has more than 15 seasons of college coaching experience and has helped develop some of the nation's top-ranked defensive units while with schools from the Big Ten, Mountain West and Pac-12 conferences.

Kauha'aha'a will work as an analyst for the Bruins through the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl.

"Chad's extensive experience throughout college football, including coaching in several different conferences, is a tremendous asset to our student-athletes and football program," said Kelly. "In addition, I am looking forward to his leadership as a member of our defensive staff."

In his initial season as defensive line coach at UNLV, Kauha'aha'a helped the Rebels defense to more than double their sacks per game average from 1.0 in 2019 to 2.3 in 2020. He spent the 2019 campaign as USC's defensive line coach as the Trojans ranked 28th in the nation with 35 quarterback sacks and featured first-team All-Pac-12 lineman Jay Tufele and second-teamer Drake Jackson, who was also named first-team Freshman All-American by 247Sports.

Kauha'aha'a worked at Boise State in 2018 as defensive line coach. BSU ranked 11th nationally in third down conversion defense (31.1%) that season. The Broncos owned the nation's 20th-best rushing defense, surrendering just 122.9 yards per game. Boise State was 10th in the nation and best in the Mountain West in sacks with a 3.0 per game mark. Defensive lineman Curtis Weaver rated 20th nationally in sacks at 0.73 per game and was named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. Weaver was selected by Miami in the NFL Draft.

From 2015-17, Kauha'aha'a coached at Oregon State, working with the defensive line and outside linebackers while serving as associate head coach. In his second year in Corvallis, the Beavers' pass defense, scoring defense, sacks and total defense numbers each improved. In 2013-14, Kauha'aha'a was in charge of Wisconsin's defensive line. In 2014, the UW defense rated third nationally in third-down conversion defense (28.4%) and fourth in total defense (294.1) while leading the Big Ten in both categories. The Badgers were fourth in the nation in third-down conversion defense in 2013 (30.6%) and seventh nationally in total defense (305.1). The rush defense rated among the nation's top 25 in both seasons, including being listed fifth nationally in 2013 at 102.5 yards per game. Wisconsin held seven opponents to 20 points or fewer during the 2014 season and seven teams to 10 or fewer points in 2013. Defensive tackle Beau Allen was selected by Philadelphia in the 2014 NFL Draft and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Eagles.

Kauha'aha'a served as defensive line coach at the University of Utah in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The Utes ranked among the nation's top 25 both seasons in rushing defense. Utah also held opponents to under 370 yards of total offense in each year while averaging more than 2.3 sacks per game. In 2011, Utah topped the Pac-12 in turnover margin at 0.77. While in Salt Lake City, he coached future first-round NFL Draft pick defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who won the Pac-12's Morris Trophy in 2011. Defensive end Joe Kruger was also selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2013 draft.

In 2009 and 2010 at Utah State, Kauha'aha'a guided the defensive line unit. In 2010, he coached defensive end Levi Koskan, who led USU and ranked 11th in the Western Athletic Conference with 8.5 tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks. Kauha'aha'a came to Utah State after four years at Weber State (2005-08), where he helped lead WSU to a share of the 2008 Big Sky Conference title before advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2008 Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. In 2007, first-team All-Big Sky selection Kevin Linehan was second in the conference and tied for 16th in FCS in sacks 10.5 (0.75 per game). Linehan was fourth in the Big Sky in tackles for loss with 14.5 and second in the league with five forced fumbles. Defensive tackle Bryce Scanlon also earned first-team All-Big Sky honors and added 7.5 tackles for loss.

Kauha'aha'a was head coach at his alma mater, Baldwin High School, in Wailuku, Hawaii, from 2002-04, posting a 25-5-2 record and winning two Maui Interscholastic League championships with the Bears. His teams finished ranked among the top five in the state in each of those three seasons.

A native of Maui, Hawaii, Kauha'aha'a was a three-year letterwinner at the University of Utah, playing linebacker in 1993 before redshirting in 1994. Moving to defensive line in 1995, he was a second-team All-WAC selection that season after posting seven sacks among his 70 tackles. In 1996, he garnered second-team All-WAC accolades while leading Utah with six tackles for loss, including four sacks. He was a two-time recipient of Utah's Walt DeLand Award, presented each year to the Ute football player who overcomes adversity to make a contribution. His 110 career tackles for loss ranked among the top 15 in school history when he graduated. He received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Utah in 1997. Kauha'aha'a and his wife, Lena, have two sons, Kalei and Kalena.


2002-04 Baldwin HS (Head Coach)
2005-08 Weber State (Defensive Line)
2009, 2010 Utah State (Defensive Line)
2011, 2012 Utah (Defensive Line)
2013, 2014 Wisconsin (Defensive Line)
2015 Oregon State (Defensive Line)
2016, 2017 Oregon State (Associate Head Coach, Defensive Line, Outside Linebackers)
2018 Boise State (Defensive Line)
2019 USC (Defensive Line)
2020, 2021 UNLV (Defensive Line)