The luster of the Alta football program, once bright, has dulled a bit over the last few years. So when the Hawks knew they needed to hire a new coach for the next season, administrators knew they would need someone that could breathe some life back into the program.
Alta has announced the hiring of Alema Te’o as the new head football coach, effective immediately. Te’o is known throughout Utah and most of the country because of his involvement in developing high school football players to reach the next level of competition. He is the founder of the All-Poly football camp, created in 2001 to provide educational opportunities for student athletes through football camps and clinics.
“I really wasn’t looking for a head coaching job at this time,” Te’o said. “I didn’t take other offers over the years because I didn’t feel right about them.
But I felt I belonged at Alta as I went through the interview process. It isn’t a down and out program. It is struggling a bit, but it has great tradition and recent success. I wanted a program I could make a difference in without having to completely rebuild.”
Alta became a powerhouse staple during the last 10 years as it battled with Bingham several times for the state 5A title. The Hawks won two championships in a row, 2007 and 2008, and were in the semifinals five consecutive years.
But the program suffered through two slow years recently, partly due to the split with Corner Canyon. The Hawks will be in the 4A ranks next season.
The move to 4A, along with the hiring of Te’o, has Alta Principal Brian McGill hoping to see the success return.
“We feel we are very lucky to get him,” McGill said. “We had a significant number of applicants, and we formed a search committee to find the best candidates. Te’o was heads and tails above them all.”
But it wasn’t just success on the field that attracted McGill to Te’o.
“There were three primary things that stood out with Te’o,” McGill said. “First was his ability to connect with the players. He shared his experiences, and through our reference checks, it was obvious his connection to players was a huge strength. He can build some team unity right out of the gates. Second is his overall knowledge of the game. He has coached at three other high schools and some collegiate. He also played through college. Finally was his connection with college coaches across the country. His connections will help our boys to progress into the college ranks.”
Te’o already has plans as to how to get the team to where he thinks they can reach.
“Alta has a strong football talent base,” he said. “I am going to work on being part of the community and local youth programs and encourage the local players to stay in the area. Then we will build the trust and family unit within the team. If we can develop the trust from player to player and player to coach, we will have success.”