According to KSL, Po’uha is leaving the staff. Interesting, I would have thought he would be here a while.
Football is a grind, both playing and coaching. He’s made good money over the years so maybe it’s just time for him to step back and enjoy time with his family. If that’s the case, good for him.
My choices for DL coach:
Jason Kaufusi - Just left UCLA for UA. Excellent recruiter. Daughter plays soccer for Utah. Move Powell to DT’s and have Jason coach DE’s.
Vic So’oto - Not retained at USC and just landed at CU. Excellent recruiter.
Lei Talamaivao - Former Ute DT. Coached at Idaho St. and then left to start his own training business. Worked last summer training Star and has also trained many young stars in Utah (Vakalahi, Roberts, Moa), California and Hawaii. Might not want to coach again due to the time it demands.
With Sione retiring, I have to offer a couple of memories:
Sione was one of the coolest guys on the '03 & '04 teams, definitely one of the best player leaders we had. He & Scalley were like brothers, even though Sione outweighed him by well over 100 lbs. Once Sione knew I could speak a little Tongan he taught me some more… overall great guy.
Some might remember this, but after he went to the NFL, in '08-'09 we had the Great Recession, and a casualty of SLC budget cuts was the 4th of July fireworks show at Liberty Park. No problem…Sione stepped up and paid for the fireworks show. That didn’t surprise me at all, he exemplifies the very best of the Tongan culture of generosity.
Sione funded the creation of a nice Kava drink you could buy in 7-Eleven, “Bula”. Funny little side story from that Liberty Park party: One of my Tongan cousins (from the islands) tracked down Sione and told him he should change the name of the drink from “Bula” - “hello” in Fiji - to “Malo”, which is a universal Tongan phrase meaning “Thank you” and also “Congratulations”. (I tried to tell my cousin this wasn’t the best idea, as “Malo” in Spanish - a much bigger population of customers - means “bad”.) Anyway, Bula was a really nice drink, and some Poly guys got experience running a business.
Sione is a class act, in every way. As impressive as he was as a DT at Utah and representing the U in the NFL, he’s even more impressive as a human being.
I met him one day standing in a very long lunch line at the Subway (that used to be in Foothill Village), and had a perhaps 15 minute conversation with him (I was wearing a Ute Block U baseball cap, so he asked if I was a football fan.)
I later saw him, just after the conclusion of the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe. There was an after game celebration on the grounds, where people like he and Scalley were signing autographs for kids, and I was hanging around while my 10 year son got the Ute Jersey he was wearing autographed.
Sione saw me standing in the background waiting for my son and hollered, “Hey, Subway Guy!” and came over to give me a fist bump and ask how we had liked the game. (I was wearing the same Block U hat, which is the only way I can think of that he would have remembered me.)
He is one of the most genuine and personable people I’ve ever met.