Alailefaleula blood runs deep with Bartlett football team
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Not only do Tui and Niko Alailefaleula share the same genes, but they both also hit people really, really hard.
At Bartlett Golden Bear football games, people can see Niko Alailefaleula score touchdowns and make big tackles on the field, as well as his dad, former NFL player Tui Alailefaleula, shouting directions from the sidelines.
Over 20 years ago, Tui Alailefaleula was a star for Bartlett. In 1999, he had 20 sacks. In 2000, he had 90 tackles and 18 sacks, and was named the Alaska’s Defensive Player of the Year. He then went onto the University of Washington where he was one of seven true freshmen to see significant time. During his time as a Husky, he played in 30 games as a defensive lineman.
After college, he went undrafted and signed as a free agent with the New York Jets. Alailefaleula was in the NFL for three years before retiring, but now he has traded in his helmet for a headset.
Tui Alailefaleula is in his first year as a defensive coach for the Bartlett Golden Bears.
“It is pretty amazing having him as my coach in high school watching me at practice games film, he is always next to me and it is good to have him as a coach too because he coaches my friends,” said his son Niko Alailefaleula.
Niko Alailefaleula is a stud on both defense and offense for the Golden Bears. He has been playing on the varsity team since he was a freshman, and now that his dad is a coach, he gets a front-row seat to all the action.
“I am much proud of him, very proud of him,” Tui Alailefaleula said. “I am the kind of a guy that don’t really show much emotions and feelings sometimes, but it is just different with him.”
Being the son of someone who played the game at the highest level can put a lot of pressure on an individual. Niko Alailefaleula said that he uses that pressure to help him fuel his game on the field and in the classroom.
“I just workout every time somebody brings that out, it just motivates me more, it drives me to work harder in school and football,” Niko Alailefaleula said. “All these kids say, ‘Man, your dad was Tui. Are you going to live up to the name?’ I hope so, but the journey is still going.”
Niko Alailefaleula wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play at the University of Washington as well, but he still has quite a bit of high school football left, as Niko is just a junior.
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