CALDWELL, Idaho — If you're a fan of the Idaho Vandals or the NFL, you might see a familiar face on the College of Idaho sidelines during the 2022 football season.
Mike Iupati was an All-Pro NFL offensive lineman, with stops in Seattle, Arizona and San Francisco. With his playing days behind him, Iupati's latest career move brings him to Caldwell.
It's an addition Yotes' head coach Mike Moroski says adds a level of prestige to the College of Idaho football program. Iupati is known as one of the best college football players to ever suit up in the Gem State.
Iupati was a consensus All-American for the Idaho Vandals. He went on to have an illustrious 11-year NFL career, earning four Pro Bowl bids and being selected as an All-Pro in 2012.
After hanging up the cleats, he's sharing his football knowledge with the next generation. Iupati says it's a way of paying it forward.
"When I was young, I got a lot of great coaches that helped me too," Iupati said. "I just want to give back to the community and give back to the kids."
Coach Moroski says the impact to the offensive line, and even the team at large, was immediate upon Iupati's arrival.
Iupati is a natural when it comes to connecting to the Yotes' players.
"I said, 'as much as you can be involved, we'd love to have you,' and he's far exceeded my expectations. Just having a guy of his stature, his character, he's one of the nicest, [most] generous people I've ever met and he cares about football, he cares about offensive line play," Moroski said. "Football is a game with 140 different situations every single game and it's a real task to get guys ready to buy into that, but I think Mike really helps with his good nature, but really, really intelligent approach."
Iupati says he loves his new coaching position and is "having a blast." It's especially rewarding working with a group that is so eager to put the work in.
In fact, even beyond all the techniques and footwork, Iupati says the main thing he wants to teach the players is the value of hard work.
"Hard work pays off, man," Iupati said. "Football is a grind, so I think having that extra rep or just staying after practice and getting a good couple sets in, it's just, if you put in time and good work, it'll pay off."
Watch more Sports:
See all of our sports coverage in our YouTube playlist: