When Dru Jones told Layton Christian Academy more than two weeks ago that he was stepping down as head football coach, LCA athletic director Jared Miller said that, ideally, the school would name a new head coach before the new year.
And with a little more than 12 hours to spare, the Eagles did, announcing the hire of former BYU and Ricks College tight end Fotu Katoa as the new head coach around mid-day Monday.
The Katoa name is pretty well-known in local football circles. Fotu Katoa is one of the coaches at Mountain West Elite, a spring football training program coached by numerous former pro and college football players. He also serves as a board member for the All Poly Sports, which runs the All Poly Camp in Salt Lake City.
Katoa's daughter Eliza went to Layton High and played volleyball at Utah for three years. His son Tayler prepped at Layton and went to USC for football in 2017 before leaving for a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
LCA athletic director Jared Miller said the school's talked to Katoa in the past for non-football positions. This was the first time they'd spoken about football and Katoa fit the bill.
"There's a certain dress code, honor code type thing, and Dru did a fantastic job with that as well. We’re looking for someone who kind of had the mindset of building up good Christian character kids,” Miller said, adding that Katoa had ideas to help in that regard.
LCA interviewed a handful of candidates the day after Christmas. Katoa had a second interview Friday and accepted the job Monday, Miller said.
Miller said it was also important the football coach work full-time at the school. Miller said Katoa's going to be a residential life coordinator starting in June where he'll help with the LCA student population that lives on campus.
Katoa went to Trinity High in Texas, then to Ricks College where he broke numerous school records and was named an All-American. That attracted BYU's attention and Katoa went to Provo, playing a season before injuries ended his career.
The Eagles went 3-7 this season and lost 41-27 to Milford in the first round of the 1A state playoffs. They'll compete in 2A under the new UHSAA realignment set to take effect in the 2019-20 school year.