Community to Honor BYU Alum Wally Molifua

This weekend, Oceanside High School will honor a former BYU football player who recently passed away. The school will pay tribute to one of its great alumni by naming its newly renovated million-dollar gym "The Wally Molifua Gymnasium."

For five decades, Wally Molifua maintained a positive influence in the Oceanside, California community as a student, an athlete and a teacher. Oceanside High School decided to name its new gymnasium after Molifua as a token of gratitude for his selfless contributions. Molifua was 53 when a heart attack claimed his life.

Molifua's teaching credentials covered many subjects. He inspired the hearts and minds of many students in everything from science to driver's ed. He was the first Samoan teacher in the Oceanside school district. The former Cougar lineman also had an impact in the athletic arena where he coached and mentored countless athletes in football, basketball, soccer, tennis and track. Molifua also provided professional security for Oceanside's students.

In attendance for the dedication and events in Molifua's honor will be BYU Assistant Head Coach Lance Reynolds, who played across from the big defensive tackle at Brigham Young University during the 1973 season. Coach Reynolds was saddened to learn the news of his former teammate's passing last year.

"Well, Wally was just a sweet, sweet man," said Reynolds. "I remember he had this certain call he would do as he ran out onto the field. He was always such a nice man and was just a lot of fun to be around. He was really one of the first influential Polynesian players at BYU and was instrumental in why we have some of his family members here on the team now. He was just a wonderful person."

Along with Coach Reynolds, former BYU Head Coach LaVell Edwards will be flying in for the dedication ceremony. Molifua's nephews, current BYU tight end Vic So'oto and first team all-California underclassmen DT/LB Wally So'oto will be in attendance. Wally So'oto was named after Wally Molifua. BYU defensive tackle and Oceanside alum Russell Tialavea will also be on hand with his parents Richard and Robin.

Following the dedication, there will be a luau held in Molifua's honor with traditional food and music provided by a luau dance group. Playing in the Polynesian drum section will be Alaini Tekurio, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound lineman out of Santa Anna Junior College, who is interested in playing football for BYU.

The Molifua family wishes to invite all BYU fans, friends and alumni to attend the festivities in honor of the late Wally Molifua. The following in a statement from the Molifua family:

"The OHS Luau was started by Wally in the late 1970's. For 15 years it was an annual event, which brought together Pirate students and staff as well as the people of Oceanside. It is our hope to revitalize this tradition and bring back that aloha spirit! This Luau is a wonderful opportunity to memorialize Wally's legacy of loyalty, dedication, and integrity to Oceanside High School and to our community at large.

"We invite you to join us in the celebration on Saturday, April 29th, 2006 at Oceanside High School. The gym re-dedication ceremony is at 11a.m. Dinner will be served in the MPR area from 4pm-6pm and the Luau entertainment will run from 6pm-7:30pm in the gym. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. They may be purchased at the OHS central office or on-line. Our e-mail is:"

The Total Blue Sports family sends our best wishes to the Molifua family.

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