Former Cougar's life changed by BYU

by | May 19, 2010

Saints & Sports

A private learning and religious institution, BYU has become the choice for many athletes from diverse backgrounds, faiths and cultures. For one non-LDS Southern California athlete of Polynesian heritage, his experience at BYU changed his life dramatically.

Sete Aulai came to BYU from Carson City, California as a junior college transfer and member of the 2005 recruiting class. He was a 6-foot-1-inch, 297-pound guard – and sometimes fullback – and was a JC Athletic Bureau first-team All-American. The Cougars were looking to bounce back from a string of losing seasons, and Aulai figured to be a part of that effort. After Aulai redshirted during his first year with the Cougars, BYU finished with an 11-2 record in his junior and senior seasons. From that time on, Aulai's world would change drastically.

"After my senior season where we beat UCLA, I graduated the following April with a degree in sociology," said Aulai, who played both guard and center for the Cougars. "From there I went looking for work and got a job at a youth facility called Slate Canyon, and then from there I switched over to Provo Canyon, which is pretty much the same thing."

Although he wasn't a member of the LDS faith, Aulai attended a singles ward with a few of his teammates, viewing it as a social function rather than a spiritual one. Over time that began to change.

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