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New Mexico Highlands hires NMMI's Taufa'asau as head football coach

May 29—New Mexico Highlands found its new head football coach in the Land of Enchantment.

Kurt Taufa'asau, who led New Mexico Military Institute to a junior college national championship in 2021, will become the Cowboys coach, according to a university news release.

Taufa'asau led the Broncos for three years, compiling a 27-10 overall record, including a 12-1 mark and a NJCAA Division I title in his first season as head coach.

He'll replace Ron Hudson as head football coach of Division II NMHU. Hudson, who was fired May 1, was 5-16 in two seasons.

Taufa'asau will become the Cowboys' 13th head coach since 2000. The Cowboys have just two winning seasons (8-3 in 2012, 6-5 in 2006) since then and only one coach (Eric Young, 2011-14) has lasted longer than three seasons in that span.

A native of Pago Pago, American Samoa, Taufa'asau began his collegiate playing career at NMMI earning first team All-Western States Football League honors as a defensive lineman in 2009.

He then played at the University of Wyoming in 2011 and 2012. After earning his degree in sociology at Wyoming, Taufa'asau spent time in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts.

Taufa'asau began his coaching career as the defensive line coach at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs, Utah in 2015. He returned to NMMI in 2016 to fill the same position. In 2019, he was promoted to assistant head coach in addition to his defensive line duties.

Taufa'asau is married to Shanice and the couple have two sons, King and Zion, and a daughter, Larei.