Al Pupunu, a former Wildcat All-American and NFL player is returning home. Pupunu joined the Weber State football staff in February 2017 and coaches the tight ends at Weber State.
Pupunu earned All-American honors as a player at Weber State and went on to a nine-year career in the NFL. He is a member of the Weber State Athletics Hall of Fame and the Utah Sports Hall of Fame.
Pupunu comes to Weber State after spending the last seven years as an assistant coach at the University of Idaho where he coached the tight ends.
Pupunu is one of the top football players in Weber State history. After graduating from South High School in Salt Lake City, he played for two seasons at Dixie State College before coming to Weber State to play for Dave Arslanian. As a senior in 1991, Pupunu had one of the best years in Big Sky Conference history. Playing alongside Walter Payton Trophy winner Jamie Martin at quarterback, Pupunu set a Division 1-AA record with 93 receptions for 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping Weber State to an 8-4 record and a trip to the NCAA Playoffs.
At the time, the 93 receptions was an FCS record and still ranks as the most receptions in a season in Weber State history, and still ranks as the second most ever in a season by a tight end. He is also third in WSU history in single-season receiving yards. For his efforts that season, Pupunu earned All-Big Sky honors and was named an All-American by the Associated Press, the Sports Network and the Walter Camp Foundation.
After his time at Weber State, Pupunu went on to a nine-year career in the NFL. He spent his first six seasons with the San Diego Chargers and was part of the 1994 Chargers team that went to the Super Bowl. That season he was also named the Offensive Player of the Game in the AFC Championship game.
He later played with the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and Detroit Lions, in addition to another year with the Chargers. In his nine seasons in the NFL, Pupunu played in 103 career games and had 1,000 career receiving yards.
He was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Weber State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. He has also been presented with the Distinguished Utahn Award by former Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher.
Last season at Idaho, Pupunu helped lead the Vandals to a 9-4 record in 2016, including a win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He began his coaching career as an intern at the University of Utah where he worked with coach Hill. He was also an assistant coach at Southern Utah for two seasons in 2008 and 2009.
A native of Tonga, Pupunu and his wife, Mindi, have five children - Miley, Kade, Brynnli, Kenna and Noah. His son Kade just singed to play football at Weber State.