RENO, Nev. — One of the best to ever play running back at Nevada has been elevated to coaching the position for the Wolf Pack, head coach Jay Norvell announced today.
Vai Taua, a three-time all-conference running back during his illustrious playing career (2007-10) for the Wolf Pack, has been on the Nevada staff for the past two seasons, first as a special teams analyst and most recently as the assistant director of player personnel and recruiting.
“We’re excited for Vai to move into this role on our coaching staff,” Norvell said. “This is a great opportunity for him, and it’s an opportunity that he has earned.”
Taua is believed to be the only full-time assistant coach at the FBS level who is coaching his brother on the same team. Toa Taua, Vai’s younger brother, is coming of a Mountain West Freshman of the Year season for the Wolf Pack after leading the team in rushing during its eight-win 2018 season.
Toa Taua is just part of a strong backfield for the Wolf Pack, which opens spring drills on Tuesday with seniors Kelton Moore and Jaxson Kincaide and sophomore Devonte Lee amongst the running back corps for the Pack.
“It’s always an honor for a former student-athlete to coach at their alma mater,” said Vai Taua. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with such a deep and talented group of running backs.”
Vai Taua had a stellar career with the Wolf Pack and was a member of the team that beat Boston College en route to a Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Championship. Taua also helped lead his team to one of the biggest upsets in school history when the Wolf Pack toppled No. 3 Boise State on Nov. 26, 2010. In that game, Taua rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown.
Vai Taua first came to the University of Nevada in 2006 to begin his illustrious career. He would go on to become an All-American and a three-time All-WAC team member. He ended his career with 4,512 career rushing yards and 53 touchdowns, both ranking in the top five in program history. After college he signed as a free agent with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and then again with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011.
Prior to Nevada, Vai Taua spent two years at UCLA on the coaching staff and was the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at East Los Angeles Junior College.
Taua and his wife, Toni, have one son, Tamali’i.
The File on Vai Taua
Born: Oct. 11, 1988
Hometown: Lompoc, Calif.
Family: Wife – Toni; Son – Tamali’i
Education: Bachelor's, University of Nevada, 2010
2019: Running Backs, Nevada
2018: Asst. Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting, Nevada
2017: Special Teams Analyst, Nevada
2016: Special Teams/RBs, East Los Angeles College
2015: Defensive Line (quality control), UCLA
2014: Wide Receivers (quality control), UCLA
Nevada: Running Back (2007-10)