Former Stanford assistant Vavae Tata enters his first season at Vanderbilt as the defensive line coach under Head Coach Derek Mason.
Tata and Mason were associates at Stanford during the 2012-13 seasons, with Tata serving as a defensive assistant while Mason worked as the Cardinal defensive coordinator. New Commodore defensive coordinator David Kotulski also worked on the Stanford staff with Mason and Tata.
Together, Mason, Kotulski, Tata and the Stanford defensive staff molded the Cardinal into one of the nation's most productive units.
In 2013, the Cardinal defense topped the Pac-12 by limiting opponents to just 19.0 points and 89.4 rushing yards. Stanford also ranked among the conference leaders in total offense and quarterback sacks.
Cardinal senior defensive end Josh Mauro was named to the Bednarik and Ted Hendricks Award watch lists. Mauro was named All-Pac 12 honorable mention after the 2013 season, finishing with 51 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
In his first season as an assistant at Stanford, the 2012 defensive line contributed to another stellar overall Cardinal unit. The 2012 Stanford unit led the Pac-12 in several statistics, including total defense (336.2 ypg), scoring defense (17.2 points) and rush defense (97.0 ypg). The line also contributed to a team-record 57 quarterback sacks.
Prior to joining Mason as an defensive assistant at the Stanford, Tata spent the 2010-11 seasons at San Jose State as a graduate assistant defensive line coach. At San Jose State, Tata worked for Head Coach Mike MacIntyre, a former Vanderbilt student-athlete and son of former Commodore coach George MacIntyre.
Tata began his coaching career in 2006, serving two years as a defensive line coach at McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Tata was a standout defensive end at UCLA, becoming a four-year letterwinner from 1994-98. His final appearance as a Bruin came in the 1999 Rose Bowl against Wisconsin.
Tata's family has a remarkable football heritage in his native Hawaii. Tata and four brothers have gone from high school in Honolulu to earn Division I scholarships.
Tata's Coaching Career 2014 - Vanderbilt - Defensive Line Coach
2012-13 - Stanford - Defensive Assistant
2011 - Pittsburgh (NFL) - Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship
2010-11 - San Jose State - Graduate Assistant (Defense)
2009 - UCLA - Defensive Assistant
2008 - UCLA - Graduate Assistant (Defense)