Kennedy High alum Tevita Fonua is all smiles despite his new set of daunting challenges as lineman for the University of New Mexico.
On Tuesday, the Albuquerque Journal featured the 6-2, 302-pound transfer from Laney College in its sports section, saying Fonua won’t stop smiling despite grueling early practices, demands of top-level college coaches, and of course the mile-high elevation.
“I got here, and the first week I was heaving, breathing really hard,” he told the newspaper. “The coaches told me, just take it step by step and you’ll progress.”
Lobos head coach Bob Davie described Fonua as a “great kid.”
Our favorite part about the Journal’s feature is how Davie recruited Fonua.
Davie visited Fonua at his church, then asked Fonua if he played basketball. The coach and player headed to a nearby basketball court for a one-on-one game.
Though Fonua was impressed with Davie’s basketball skills, he claims he let the coach win, the Journal said.
“I thought, ‘If I beat him, he’s gonna take away my scholarship,” Fonua quipped.
Davie disputes that version of the story.
“Don’t let him tell you that he let me win,” the coach apparently told the media moments before Fonua recounted the story.