The game of Davis County head football coach musical chairs continued Tuesday and still may have another twist left.
Layton Christian Academy football coach Fotu Katoa accepted the Layton High head coaching job, incoming LHS principal Chadli Bodily confirmed.
Katoa didn’t plan on leaving LCA, but his kids have all gone to Layton High and it’s a place he’s come to know well.
He called the Layton High job an “opportunity to give back to my community that has given me so much.”
“I’ve been part of this community for a long time and I’ve done things here, I’ve been part of their sports programs since my daughter (played) and she’s 29 now. I know so many people in the community here ... the attraction is that I can bring a perspective of both sides, having kids that played there all these years and being a parent and supporting from the outside,” Katoa said.
Katoa, a former BYU tight end, takes over a program that has improved over the past two seasons but has still hung out near the bottom of Region 1.
Since 2017, the Lancers have gone 0-10, then 2-7, then 3-8 in a 2019 season that included the school’s first playoff win (28-27 at Weber) since 2008.
Katoa has lofty goals for the program.
“I want to build that into a football power and premier football program. That’s my goal. Work with all the community, work with all the parents and work with everything that we have,” Katoa said. “The message that I want to send out is that we are building a program here at Layton High School that I want to win the confidence of, and attract the local athletes and those that are participating.”
As far as how he plans to elevate a program that has had four winning seasons — one of them was the state runner-up finish in 2007 — since the new millennium, he has something in mind for that, too.
The past couple years, multiple prep student athletes have transferred to other schools from Layton, or opted to start their high school athletic careers at other schools instead of Layton.
“Try to keep everybody in place that we have in the local area, because we have enough talent here ... keep them home, and to create a system and a program that the kids and the parents want to keep their kids at the school,” Katoa said of his plans.
For those needing a refresher, the Davis County coaching shuffle has gone on for almost two months.
In February, a much simpler time, Bountiful picked Jason Freckleton as its newest head football coach following Tyler Hughes’ resignation.
Bountiful wasn’t part of the domino effect, but everyone else is.
Then-Northridge coach Braden Mitchell resigned in February.
Woods Cross coach Andrew Fresques, a Northridge alumnus, took the Northridge job. Then, Layton coach Tyler Gladwell took the Woods Cross job.
Now, Katoa is leaving LCA for the Layton High job.
“I was happy. LCA was good to me, LCA was great, LCA is a phenomenal place, but when the job came available here — not in my own backyard, (my) front yard — it took me awhile to do it because of how I value LCA,” Katoa said.
Katoa coached the Eagles for one season and worked at the school, which has a mostly international student enrollment, as its residential life coordinator.
Katoa is pursuing an Alternative Routes to Licensure (ARL) teaching license and will teach PE in the fall, Bodily confirmed.
Once LCA figures its coaching situation out, there will be five new football head coaches in Davis County this fall, along with an equally chaotic shuffling of assistant coaches.
LCA had a 2-7 record in 2019 with both wins coming on the road, where the Eagles played seven of their nine games.
And now Layton Christian, which plays in the 2A North region, is looking for a new head coach with four months until its scheduled season opener on Aug. 14 against Judge Memorial.
According to LCA athletic director Jared Miller, the school has been working on finding a new head coach since Sunday night.
“We would like to get it done as quickly as we can. We don’t want our kids left in limbo for too long,” he said.