Suiaunoa served as defensive line coach last season and succeeds Kevin Lempa, who announced his resignation. Suiaunoa will continue to oversee the defensive line.
“This move provides stability to our defense, something our kids deserve,” Rolovich said. “Legi has proven to be successful at coaching the defensive line. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do and he’s commanded his position group. I truly believe Legi is ready for the challenge and this opportunity. He’s earned my trust.”
Last season under Suiaunoa, the defensive line produced 25 tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks, and eight quarterback hurries. Defensive end Meffy Koloamatangi was an honorable mention all-Mountain West pick and end Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea started all 14 games and was the unit’s leader in tackles with 45.
In addition to coaching the defensive line, Suiaunoa is the lead recruiter in American Samoa, where the Warriors inked five defensive players over the past two signing classes. He joined Rolovich’s inaugural staff after five seasons as defensive line coach at Montana. The Oceanside, Calif., native has one previous stint as defensive coordinator at Eastern Oregon in 2009.
Suiaunoa has also coached at Portland State, Western Washington, Nevada, and Palomar Junior College.
The Rainbow Warriors will conduct spring camp Feb. 23-March 23.