Utah high school football coach retires, celebrates final postseason

Oct 20, 2023, 10:09 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm

SANDY — The Alta High School football team is hoping to go out with a bang this postseason, which would not only be a big accomplishment for the team but for their head coach as well.

Coach Alema Te’o is wrapping up the final postseason of his career, retiring after three decades of coaching high school football.

“I’ve been coaching since the fall of 1988, which puts me around 35 years,” Te’o said. “It doesn’t hit you right away, but I’m starting to feel some of the effects.”

Te’o played collegiate-level football and found his way to coaching afterward. He was appointed head coach of the Hawks back in 2015 but is known for founding the All-Poly football camp, helping Utah student-athletes since 2001.

“I started to coach because I love football,” Te’o said. “As I got into it, the longer I got more committed…and it just kind of steamrolled like that.”

He said the decision to leave his players didn’t come lightly.

“Outside of proposing to my wife, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life to say that I’m not coming back,” Te’o said.

Coach Te’o giving a final pep talk to his team. (KSL TV)

The work he’s put on and off the field isn’t going unnoticed. Parents like David Niumeitolu, whose son plays quarterback, said he’s grateful for the impact he’s made on his son’s life.

“Coach Te’o is like an uncle to my son and, I think, to a lot of other kids… It takes a village to grow these kids and for them to be successful. So, it’s a blessing to have him here, and I wish him the best at whatever he does after,” Niumeitolu said

While there may be no more Friday night lights in Coach Te’o’s future, the players he’s helped develop will be remembered forever.

“To have a part of that over the years, based on their experience with us, it’s meaningful,” he said.

No official plans have been set yet for Te’o’s future, but he said he plans to spend more time with his family. He added he’s grateful to his wife and daughter as well as other coaches across the Beehive State who’ve helped him along the way.

The Hawks continue their postseason run after defeating the Highland Rams 34 to 10.

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Utah high school football coach retires, celebrates final postseason