Football took Joe Salavea from American Samoa to the White House

My 2016 story for the National Football Foundation's Football Matters section. Joe Salavea was named to the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019. He is now coaching at Oregon as an associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator/run game. By Tom Shanahan Football lore is filled with Horatio Alger-like stories of athletes from humble beginnings. Joe Salave’a’s special journey lifted him from American Samoa to a White House ceremony and into college coaching. White House invitations for athletes are…

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Walton was a San Diego football name before basketball

My story for the National Football Foundation's Football Matters was published Jan. 19, 2017. Bruce, who played at UCLA and with the Dallas Cowboys, passed away Oct. 18, 2018. By TOM SHANAHAN The Walton surname and basketball remain synonymous from Bill Walton’s Naismith Hall of Fame career, but once there was a time when “Walton” was a football identity. That was true in San Diego and at UCLA. Bill Walton is one of basketball’s all-time greats that grew…

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My NFF story: Rollie Stichweh serving Army then and now

My National Found Foundation "Football Matters" story from March 12, 2017 By TOM SHANAHAN History links Army football’s 1964 and 2016 wins over Navy as two of the more emotional triumphs in the rivalry’s 117 meetings. Although separated by a half-century-plus, Rollie Stichweh enjoyed a hand in both victories. First, he was West Point’s senior quarterback directing the Black Knights’ 11-8 victory. Army’s only touchdown was Stichweh’s 5-yard pass to tight end Sam Champi. The win avenged a…

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