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Robert Anae to stay as football offensive coordinator

The Hawai’i native passes up the head coaching position at Hawai’i to remain on Bronco Mendenhall’s staff

<p>Anae's offensive adjustments in the second half of the season were a big factor in helping the Cavaliers defeat rival Virginia Tech and reach the ACC Championship Game.</p>

Anae's offensive adjustments in the second half of the season were a big factor in helping the Cavaliers defeat rival Virginia Tech and reach the ACC Championship Game.

Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae will return to Virginia in the same role after passing up on the opportunity to become the head coach at the University of Hawaii. Anae met with Hawaii during the weekend, but recently withdrew his name from consideration.

“After careful consideration, I am withdrawing my application for the University of Hawaii head football coach position,” Anae said in a statement to Virginia Athletics. “I have been overwhelmed with the commitment by Coach Mendenhall and the leadership of [athletics director] Carla Williams. I am excited and energized to close out our recruiting class as we continue our quest for the conference championship.”

Anae’s return to the Cavaliers is huge for a program that saw its offense set the record for most points in a single season in program history last year, with 449 points. On the season, Virginia’s offense averaged 32 points per game and 388 yards per game and finished on a positive note, gaining 447 yards per game over the final six games.

Anae has been the offensive coordinator on head Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s staff since 2013 at BYU. In 2016, when Mendenhall accepted the head coaching position at Virginia, Anae followed.

Virginia’s offense has seen tremendous growth under Anae’s tutelage. The Cavaliers averaged 22.5 points per game in Anae’s inaugural season at Virginia, but saw a jump to 28.5 points per game in 2018 and 32 points per game in 2019. Virginia’s development on offense has been crucial to the success of the team, with the team going from two wins in 2016 to nine wins in 2019. 

Anae runs an offense that relies heavily on the passing game and the play of the quarterback. In Anae’s first two years at Virginia, he ran a pro-style air raid offense with quarterback Kurt Benkert, who was only an occasional running threat. However, when Bryce Perkins took over the offense in 2018, it gave way for Anae to incorporate more of a running component to the offense, thanks to Perkins’ dual threat ability. With a mobile quarterback at the helm, Anae’s offense grew tremendously. As sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong and incoming freshman quarterback Ira Armstead look to take over for Perkins, Anae will seek to run his offense the same way he did with Perkins, as they both possess the dual threat traits that makes Virginia’s offense lethal. 

Anae has been a hot name in the coaching market, receiving interest from Miami about its offensive coordinator vacancy, in addition to the interest from Hawaii about its head coaching position. Now, Anae will look to keep Virginia’s offense strong, as he loses his starting quarterback and top two wide receivers.


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