Jason Kaufusi begins his first season with the Wolf Pack football team under first-year head coach Jay Norvell in 2017, serving as the team’s defensive line coach.
Prior to joining the staff at Nevada, Kaufusi spent five years at Weber State and served as the team’s defensive coordinator for the 2016 season. That 2016 Weber State team finished 7-5 overall and advanced to the FCS Playoffs for the first time in seven years. Under Kaufusi’s leadership, the Wildcats led the Big Sky in passing defense in 2016, allowing just 193.5 yards per game. The Wildcats also had five players on defense earn Big Sky All-Conference honors.
Prior to becoming defensive coordinator, Kaufusi coached the defensive ends for two seasons. The Wildcats led the Big Sky in total defense in 2015 and finished the season 6-5 overall and 5-3 in Big Sky play, WSU’s first winning season in five years. Kaufusi was hired for his second stint at Weber State in December of 2013. He had previously spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons at Weber State as an assistant coach under coach Ron McBride, working with the defensive ends.
In between stints at Weber State, Kaufusi worked as a defensive graduate assistant coach at BYU during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He served as the football academic advisor in 2013. Kaufusi has also spent time as an administrative assistant at the University of Utah under head coach Kyle Whittingham, assisting with the cornerbacks.
Kaufusi spent four seasons (2004-07) as an assistant coach at Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City working for coaches Tim Jones and Cecil Thomas. He coached the defensive line for the Colts and oversaw the academics and assisted with strength and conditioning for the team.
A native of Salt Lake City, Kaufusi attended East High School where as a senior in 1996 he was named the Utah 4A Player of the Year and led the Leopards to a 13-0 record and the Class 4A state title. He recorded 16 quarterback sacks and caught 17 passes for 327 yards as a tight end.
He signed to play football at Utah in February 1997 but left to serve a two-year LDS Church mission to Panama before beginning his collegiate career. He joined the Utes in 2000 under head coach Ron McBride and was voted the Co-Mountain West Freshman of the Year. He also earned honorable mention all-conference honors with eight sacks and started in nine games. He went on to earn first team All-Mountain West honors in 2001 and 2002. As a senior in 2003 he was a pre-season All-America candidate and was on the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy watch lists but a shoulder injury prevented him from participating in his senior season.
He was the fourth Kaufusi to play at the University of Utah following the steps of his brothers Doug, Henry and Jeff. He is the father of two daughters, Taliana and Malia, and a son, Ammon.
2017 – Nevada, defensive line
2016 – Weber State, defensive coordinator
2014-15 – Weber State, defensive ends
2012-13 – BYU, Defensive graduate assistant
2010-11 – Weber State, defensive ends
2004-07 – Cottonwood High School, defensive line/strength and conditioning