Polynesian Tradition

2008: BYU's Polynesian ContingentBYU’s football program has tapped into the Pacific Islands to find players since 1951 when Harry Bray of Hilo, Hawaii transferred from Weber College to play for the Cougars. Other Pacific Islanders who followed included: Famika Anae (1954-55; father of current BYU Offensive Coordinator Robert Anae), John Kapele (1957-59), John Kawaa (1962-1963); John Lupoi (1967-1969) and Henry Nawahine (1964-1965). Some of BYU’s most celebrated and decorated players have come from the Pacific islands, including All-Americans, national record holders and players who have gone on to compete in the NFL.

Since 1951, well over 100 Polynesian players have suited up for BYU, including 21 who will don the blue and white in 2010. The Cougars’ Polynesian players have come from Hawaii, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. Some of the most notable players include Vai Sikahema, the NCAA’s career leader in punt returners, All-American and NFL veteran tight end Itula Mili and BYU’s all-time rushing leader Harvey Unga. Six former BYU Polynesian players are currently on NFL rosters.

Of the more than 100 Polynesian players, several rank among the top statistical leaders in BYU history. Two of the top-10 career rushers. Since 1982, 10 of BYU’s season-rushing leaders have been Pacific Islanders.

Postgame Celebration 2006A list of other Polynesians who excelled on the gridiron for BYU include: Mekeli Ieremia (1974-1977), Wally Molifua (1972-1973), Pili Saluone (1970-71), Charles Ah You (1973-74), Keith Uperesa (1974-77), Pisa Finai (1975), Marcus Kanahele (1975-76), Pulusila Filiaga (1979-81), David Aupiu (1979-82), Allen Salanoa (1982),Brad Anae (1980-81), Louis Wong (1982-84), Robert Anae (1982-84), Lakei Heimuli (1983-1986),Kurt Gouveia (1983-85), Ladd Akeo (1984-86), Andy Kato (1984-1987),Steve Kaufusi (1983-86), Thor Salanoa (1985-87), Chris Bisho (1986-1987), Alema Harrington (1986-88), Tau Harrington (1988-1990), and Sim Tiatia (1988-90), Tom Tuipulotu (1983-85), Peter Tuipulotu (1989-91), Wayne Faaluafua (1981-1982); Fotu Katoa (1989) Rich Kaufusi (1989-90); Chris Matau (1985-1986); Micah Matsuzaki (1989-1993); Phil Nauahi (1987-1988), Alema Fitisemanu (1985-90), Spencer Reid (1994-97),Gabriel Reid (1999-02), Donny Atuia (1996-1999); Mark Atuia (1991-1996); Justin Ena (1997-2001); Elias Faupula (1994-1995); Setema Gali Jr. (1997-2000);Fred Katoa (1990); Harland Ah You (1995-97), K.O. Kealaluhi (1995-1996); Henry Bloomfield (1995-96), Tevita Liava’a (1997); Issiah Magalei (1996-1998); Shane Magalei (1996-1999); Reno Mahe (1998-2002);Itula Mili (19991-1996); John Moala (1996-1997); John Moeaki (1994); Stan Moleni (1998); Kelepi Ofahengaue (1996); Tevita Ofahengaue (1997-2000);Vaha Ongoongotau (1994-1995); John Raass (1994-1995); Stan Raass (1994-1995); Terence Saluone (1992-1993); Kapi Sikahema (1991); Kalani Sitaki (1994-2000); Casey Tiumalu (1982-1983); Mike Ulufale (1994-1995); Morris Unutoa (1989-1995), Aaron Francisco (2001-04), Shaun Nua (2002-04), Ifo Pili (1999-2003), Jason Kukahiko (2001-04), Hanale Vincent (2001-04), Manaia Brown (2002-05), Fahu Tahi (1999, 02-05), Vince Feula (2004-05), Daniel Marquardt (2001-05), T.J. Sitake (1998-00, 04-05), Jake Kuresa (2003-06), Hala Paongo (2004-06), Sete Aulai (2006-07), Fui Vakapuna (2002-03, 06-08), Ray Feinga (2004-08), David Tafuna (2006-08), Bryce Mahuika (2006-08), Manase Tonga (2005-09) and Harvey Unga (2006-09).

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