Football took Salavea to the White House
College Football Share

Football took Salavea to the White House

Washington State assistant coach honored in 2005 for his foundation work

Photo: Washington State defensive line coach Joe Salavea

Football lore is filled with Horatio Alger-like stories of athletes from humble beginnings. Joe Salave’a’s special journey lifted him from American Samoa to a White House ceremony to college coaching.

White House invitations for athletes are commonly part of a team championship celebration, but Salave’a was uncommonly recognized for the Joe Salave’a Foundation established during his NFL career. He played eight years as a defensive lineman, including Super Bowl XXXIV with the Tennessee Titans in the 1999 season. ... 

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Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan

Tom Shanahan is an award-winning sportswriter and the author of "Raye of Light". Tom has also written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, Voice of San Diego,,, and Gameday Central. He has won multiple first-place awards from the San Diego Press Club and first place from the Copley News Service Ring of Truth Awards. The National Football Foundation/San Diego Chapter presented him its Distinguished American Award in 2003 and USA Track and Field’s San Diego Chapter its President’s Award in 2000.

Raye of Light: Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the integration of college football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans

By Tom Shanahan; Foreword by Tony Dungy; August Publications

Purchase Raye of Light from Barnes and Noble, or from August Publishing.

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