BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The father of Tua and Taulia Tagovailoa, joins Rick Karle for the latest edition of Air It Out. Galu talks about how he met his wife Diane, taking a “leap of faith” to move his family from Hawaii to Alabama, and attending Catholic Mass with Nick Saban.
Highlights from the episode include:
“That was one of the biggest things we wanted to know coming to Alabama. With Tua’s faith and our faith, and where Alabama stood with this whole faith thing."
“Without God, Tua would never be what he is, Taulia would never be what he is, my family would never be what we are. It’s so important that people understand that. Because it’s not football, it’s our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”
“Your name is the biggest thing…people have pride for their names. And I wanted to do that for my dad. I wanted to be the first NFL football player in my family. I wanted our name to be out there...”
“My dad saw something special in him. I didn’t, I just felt like he was kid and I was going to train him. Tua was never a quarterback…You know typical Polynesian kids from Hawaii or American Samoa, we have them playing either down lineman or outside linebacker, or being a backer, but never a skill player. Never being a quarterback or wide receiver.”
“The quarterback got hurt on our flag football team. They had asked me if I could train Tua because they saw Tua throwing a ball. At that time Tua was throwing a ball with his right hand. I’m the only lefty in my family and I wanted to change how Tua threw because I wanted a lefty to be with me. So I put the ball in his left hand and just practiced throwing with his left hand and it was history after that.”
"Taulia would snap the ball to Tua to work on his technique…after a while I would just have Taulia catch, because there was no one else there to catch…So when Tua would throw I would tell Tua you gotta spin it this way, you gotta finish here, you gotta do this. And while I’m doing that with Tua, Taulia’s doing the same thing when he’s throwing the ball back. And I’d be looking at Taulia like, wow that’s a nice ball!”
“In the beginning it was hard, because I felt like they could have done this, they could have done that…Usually I’m on the field and we can critique and I can tell them okay lets look at this…It’s funny people tell me I don’t smile at Tua’s games when I’m caught on camera, but it’s just I’m watching everything…”
“I’ve learned a lot being out here. This is just such a heavy football state. It is so crazy and I love it because that’s me back home. Now that I’m here, being around something like this, it’s so awesome.”
“I’ve never seen a program like Alabama. That’s why they’re winning, that’s why they’re the team that they are, that’s why Coach Saban is the best coach in the country.”
“Jalen is a special kid. I’m really grateful and thankful to Jalen and the family…Jalen took in Tua as his brother and they’ve worked. And it hurts me to hear and to see how people react to Jalen. This kid has been so special to this state. As a father, I know how it feels. I can just imagine going through that with my son and it kills me to see things like that, especially with our faith. We pray for Jalen, we pray for the family. I always tell Tua you gotta hold tight to Jalen. That’s your guy. Not because you’re starting and things have changed. It should never be like that…That’s my only downfall with how people look at the Alabama program, it’s how they treat these kids. They’re still kids. It breaks my heart to see that, but at the same time, when we see Jalen come in, I’m stoked, I’m happy. I want to see him be successful, I want to see him do good. Because he’s been good. He’s taken this team to two national championships. You can’t take that away from him and his family.”
“We don’t allow that to be a distraction. The focus is on the team. Anything with Heisman or with him being the number one quarterback right now in college…right now to me it doesn’t mean anything. It’s good to know and it’s good to hear, but the priority is the team. The priority is our faith."
Check out the full episode for even more from Galu.
Download new episodes each Thursday this football season. You can find Air It Out on your favorite podcast streaming app.