Linfield football has a great tradition graduating outstanding coaches and Wes Suan of the Class of 1978 is no exception. As one of the longest-tenured leaders in the history of one of the nation’s most consistently successful programs, the versatile Coach Suan gave 20 years to his alma mater as an assistant coach.
Overseeing a multitude of positions from running backs to the defensive line, Suan was part of three national championship team and nine conference title teams. He served under three Hall of Fame coaches, helping the Wildcats win 156 games, and was on the sidelines as Linfield set the all-divisions record for consecutive winning seasons in 1998.
Suan’s lengthy career as a Wildcat began as a freshman in the fall of 1971. He played four years under Ad Rutschman, totaling more than 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns as a running back. Upon graduating, Suan returned home to the Hawaiian Islands. Specifically, he went back to his alma mater, Waialua High School, where he taught in the classroom and coached football for three seasons.
At that point, he was drawn to Linfield once more, taking on a new role as an assistant coach, working to develop new players at his former position. He served in that capacity from 1979 to 1987, during which time Linfield produced three all-conference running backs.
Suan switched over to the defensive line in 1988, a role he held for four seasons. When Ed Langdorf took over the program in 1992, the new head coach moved Suan to the offensive lineand promoted the one-time running back to offensive coordinator.
Two summers later, Suan gained valuable experience as an intern with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, helping to supervise the quarterbacks and receivers during the team’s 1994 training camp. Suan really put that experience to work beginning in 1996, when he transitioned from coaching the Wildcat offensive line to working with the quarterbacks.
In addition to serving as Linfield’s assistant athletic director for facilities, Suan kept busy in the offseason as head coach of the Wildcat men’s tennis program from 1980 to 1996. Some of the highlights from his 17-year tenure included an NAIA District 2 championship in 1985, as well as singles and doubles appearances at the national tournament in 1982, ’83, ’84 and ’87.
Suan left Linfield in 1998, returning home once again the Islands, where he served as an assistant for the University of Hawaii for nine seasons. He then migrated with head coach June Jones to Southern Methodist University, where he is currently in his sixth season working with the offensive line. The Mustangs, who compete in the NCAA Division I FBS American Athletic Conference, have won three bowl games in recent years, including the 2012 Hawaii Bowl.
He and his wife, Judy, live in Texas with their two daughters, McKenzie and Madeline.