Former Player Future TV Star

Former UCC star Sarona (Snuka) Polomalu, pictured at the left with Taylor, was in town for a couple days and came by the house to see us yesterday morning. Sarona played as hard as any player we've ever had and her intensity and enthusiasm impacted every single practice and every single game. Fortunately for us, she never learned the meaning of half speed. It's been ten years since she played but I remember Sarona diving into the stands, to chase a loose ball, with such force that she broke a fan's finger. I remember her being the MVP of the LA Valley Tournament in Los Angeles even though she scored relatively little. I also remember her bringing dinner to the office when she knew Linda and I would be there late. (Her teriyaki chicken is the still the best I've ever tasted!) Regardless of the circumstances, Sarona was always there for her coaches and teammates and never complained or expected anything in return. I still know that if Linda and I ever needed her, she would be here in a second.

Sarona, whose father is profesional wrestling champion Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and whose cousin is Duane "The Rock" Johnson, is now living in Florida with her two young daughters and getting ready to embark on a professional wrestling career of her own. I had to laugh when Sarona told us that after hurting too many women, she now has to train against men!

As we sat and talked, Sarona told us how grateful she is for her Umpqua experience and how the focus, work ethic, and mental toughness that she developed here changed her life. She must have still been thinking about us because early this morning at 1:57am Sarona sent me a text. "Coach, I'm at the airport waiting for my flight but just wanted to thank you again for everything you've taught me."

You're welcome Sarona! I can't wait to see you on TV!!