WASHINGTON TERRACE -- For the Bonneville High Lakers, finding a coach that loves football and loves the profession of teaching kids was no ordinary task.
After reviewing dozens of applicants, the adminstration and athletic director selected Jantz Afuvai to fill the positions vacated by Tyler Gladwell.
Afuvai is no stranger to the Lakers' program, having played there for coach Thom Budge and also coaching at Bonneville for many years. He plans on bringing with him some of the things that he has learned through the years.
"Before I could even start anything, I had to rebuild the trust within the program that I would get it back to where the program was before." Afuvai said. "I had to get the players to trust in me that I was going to be there for the long haul. Once you develop that trust, the players can begin to make plays and I (as a coach) can put them in a position to be successful playing football.
"More than that, I need to build the relationship of trust within the community and with the coaching staff that I have assembled because if we don't have that trust, then we are not going to succeed. I have been doing that since I stepped in and it is starting to come around."
Afuvai knows plenty about building trust and having great relationships with players and coaches in learning from one of the best in coach Budge. He also played in college at Weber State and garnered a lot of football knowledge from the coaching staff during the early 1990s.
"It feels like I'm coming home," Afuvai added. "I love the area and the community and the kids. This is where I got my start. I am excited to get the program back to where it should be.
"The one thing that I thought was important was getting coaches back into the schools. We have five coaches that will be in the school and on the staff because we want the players to see us and we want others to see that the coaches are committed to being here. I am all in with this play. I spent 19 years in the juvenile system and I decided to come here to coach. That is how committed I am to the program. I want to be here for as long as they'll have me."
Along with keeping all of the defensive coaches, Afuvai reached back a little bit to get some of the teachers that were at the school to recommit to coaching the younger kids and rebuild the program.
"The offense will look a little different that it has," Afuvai said. "It will be a spread offense, but we need players that are willing to trust the staff and be the type of player we can trust to make calls at the line when it looks like the wrong play.."
Knowing his background and the ability that he carries with him, it will only be a matter of time before the rest of the community are playing and watching winning football once again.