Sitake announces Kafusi, Empey and Tafisi to football staff


BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake announced three new additions to the coaching staff Thursday afternoon. Steve Kafusi will remain to coach the defensive line, Mike Empey the offensive line and Nu’u Tafisi will be the head strength and conditioning coach.

“I’m pleased to announce Steve, Mike and Nu’u as members of our football staff,” Sitake said. “Establishing the line of scrimmage is very important and I’m confident Steve and Mike will help us do that. Nu‘u gets the most out of his athletes and I know he will help our team be tough and prepared. I’m excited to have him leading our strength and conditioning program.”

Kaufusi is entering his 15th season with the Cougars. Kaufusi coached BYU’s defensive line to 19.5 sacks last season. Prior to coming to BYU in 2002, Kaufusi coached at the University of Utah for eight years. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1992 NFL Draft.

“I’m grateful and excited to coach here at BYU,” Kaufusi said. “Coach Sitake is a leader and has a great vision for the program and I am happy to be a part of it.”

Mike Empey during his playing days at BYU. Empey was named the offensive line coach by head coach Kalani Sitake on Thursday. (BYU Athletics)

Empey played offensive guard in 1987 and 1991-1993 and was a three-time All-WAC Scholar Athlete. He then coached as a graduate assistant for two years before coaching tight ends at UNLV for two years.

He became the head coach at Snow College in 1998 and coached there for two seasons before joining LaVell Edwards at BYU in 2000. Empey continued to coach the offensive line and tight ends under Gary Crowton through 2004.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to come back to BYU and grateful to work with Coach Sitake and Ty,” Empey said. “We’ve been friends for many years, and this is the kind of environment and culture that I want to coach in.”

Empey has recently helped coach the American Fork High School football team where his son, James Empey, played. James committed to the University of Utah January in 2015.

Tafisi served as a strength and conditioning coach at USC in 2015. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2007 and was a member of the practice squad from 2007-2009.

Tafisi is now the head strength and conditioning coach for the BYU football team. (Getty Images)

The native of Samoa played high school ball at East High School in Salt Lake City and then played at Mt. San Antonio College in California. Tafisi was named to the Junior College All-America first team from the JC Athletic Bureau/California Community College Football Coaches Association. He also earned honors on JC Gridwire’s All-America second team.

Tafisi transferred to Cal and was named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team Defense in both 2005 and 2006.

“It’s a dream come true to be here at BYU,” Tafisi said. “I love working with these young players and being with them in the weight room to get them ready for game day.”

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