Kava returns to Dawgs

After spending the better part of two years in West Africa on an LDS mission, former Washington lineman William Kava has come home. Home to Montlake, home to his football family and teammates who have missed him, and home to good ol' American fast food.

"I went to Jack in the Box the night I got back," Kava told Dawgman.com this past week. "I had some Breakfast Jacks. Man, they were so good I almost cried."

While on his mission, Kava dropped 60 to 70 pounds, getting all the way down to 210 pounds at one point, and he said it opened his eyes to a lot of things. "I feel like I matured a lot more than the Willie from before," Kava said. "I just have a greater appreciation, especially for this country that we live in. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be at this school, at the University of Washington, and I just want to make the best of my time here."

The mission also opened his eyes to what is really important to the big man who prepped at the Iolani School on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. "I really missed being a part of the University of Washington, but even more, of being a part of this program," Kava added. "They really made me feel like I belong here and I just wanted to get back and see what I can do.

"I was happy to see all my friends, a lot of the guys I came in with. Manase Hopoi, Tui (Alailefaeula), Tusi (Sa'au) and all of those guys. I also wanted to meet (head coach Tyrone) Willingham and most especially, (defensive line coach Randy) Hart. He's the only coach here that was here when I was playing. I just had a lot of respect for him and seeing him again was great."

While residing in remote huts on the Atlantic beaches of West Africa, Kava still got Husky news from his mom. However, he didn't like what he hearing.

"I was sad to hear what has happened," he said sadly. "Even though I wasn't here it hurt me to hear we had been losing games and how many coaches have gone down in the two years I was gone."

There were rumors that Kava's playing days were over, but things couldn't be further from the truth. "I'm trying to get back into shape," Willie said, mentioning he is back up to 275 pounds. "I was over there for two years, but I didn't really have much chance to work out. I'm just trying to get back into the groove. It's hard right now, but I'm just trying to work hard through the summer workouts and do the best I can."

Kava is hoping that a scholarship will be available for him to rejoin his Husky teammates and it sounds like the situation is about ready to work itself out. "From what I know, Coach Willingham allowed me back on the team," Kava stated. "I'm not sure if I'm a scholarship player yet or not. We're still trying to figure that out.

"Coach Willingham said he really wants to make it happen, but according to the academic people, we still have to wait for the NCAA."

Kava is working out with the team and is attending summer school this quarter in hopes of completing his degree within the next two years. Starting in 2005, Willie would have three years to complete three years of football eligibility.

Willie Kava Scout.com Profile

Dawgman.com Top Stories