Players react to DB coach Akina's departure
Akina had coached the Longhorns secondary for nearly 13 years but acknowledged his tenure at Texas is over on Friday in a series of posts on his Twitter account.
I want to thank all the support staff, players & coaches that have been so good to me and my family for the past 13 yrs. HOOKEM HORNS— Duane Akina (@CoachAkina) January 10, 2014
Thank you all for the unbelievable support. It's a grt feeling knowing your hard wrk is appreciated The DBs r in good hands w/coach Bedford— Duane Akina (@CoachAkina) January 11, 2014
Akina came to Texas in 2001 and in in his time in Austin coached 11 current NFL defensive backs, two Thorpe Award winners and 14 first-team All-Big 12 selections.
Akina briefly left in January 2011 for Arizona and returned to coach the unit again for the 2011 season. He had served as assistant head coach under Mack Brown since 2008.
His departure was not a major surprise, considering expected defensive coordinator Vance Bedford coached the secondary at Louisville, but the news that Akina is leaving elicited a strong reaction on Friday from his former players.
Man it’s hard to lose a great coach like @CoachAkina. I know whoever picks him up is a lucky team. 100% real all the time.— Adrian Phillips (@Phillips_17) January 11, 2014
Best DB coach hands down. You can’t replace a man like that— Adrian Phillips (@Phillips_17) January 11, 2014
Hard to comprehend how you can get rid of the Best DB Coach in College Football. @CoachAkina you are truly a great coach & even better man!— Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) January 11, 2014
Come on @CoachAkina no way! Your account must be hacked or something , can't get rid of a legend like yourself! You've done to much for us— Aaron Williams (@ajwilliams23) January 10, 2014
Texas has not lost any verbal commitments over the news that Akina is leaving, but two commits said they were stunned by the news.
Three-star safety Jason Hall (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie) said he’s still solid in his pledge but was disappointed to learn he won’t get to play for Akina next season.
“It’s a tragic loss for Texas, the one who built ‘DBU’ where it’s at right now,” Hall said, “but I’m pretty sure Coach Strong has his logical reasons to not rehire Coach Akina.”
Jalen Campbell, a cornerback in Texas’ 2015 class from Corpus Christi (Texas) Flour Bluff, has been committed since last March and said the prospect of continuing the "DBU" tradition at Texas under Akina was a big reason why he chose Texas.
“It was surprised and I’m still kind of shocked a little bit,” Campbell said. “Nobody really knew if he was going to stay there or get kept or not. I liked him a lot, he’s real fun. Even when I went for sophomore day, he was yelling and screaming and stuff. It was exciting to see a DB coach with that much passion.”
Beford has yet to be announced as Texas' defensive coordinator but is officially listed in the UT directory. Incoming strength coach Pat Moorer and linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary have also been added to the directory.