Hundreds filed out of the Sheraton Waikiki ballroom in a frenzy as athletes, family members and coaches readied to celebrate new beginnings.
Kapolei senior Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa was one of the few to stay. The newly-minted Notre Dame signee relished his surroundings. After numerous leis and photo requests, he met with uncle and former Campbell coach Amosa Amosa for a tearful embrace.
“It really is emotional. I’m definitely grateful and extremely blessed to have this opportunity presented to me,” Tagovailoa-Amosa said. “Of course, all glory to God for all the talent that he’s blessed me with. It’s emotional to have my support system here with me and knowing that these guys don’t have to pay a dime for college, it just makes it feel so much better.”
After playing his freshman and sophomore seasons at Campbell, the defensive end transferred to Kapolei. It’s there that he blossomed into the prospect that he is today.
However, leaving Campbell meant leaving Amosa’s program. Amosa and the Sabers parted ways after a 7-5 season but, ironically enough, he’s landed on his feet at Kapolei as Darren Hernandez’s offensive coordinator.
“He’s always been there for me to support me. It never stopped,” Tagovailoa-Amosa said of his father’s brother. “Even before I left Campbell, I told him I was leaving and his support was always there. He always told me he was gonna be there. I love that guy so much. … He’s such a loving and caring guy.”
“I’ve seen Myron grow from being in the Big Boyz league to playing for us for two years and then go to Kapolei,” Amosa added. “I’m so proud and so blessed to be a part of his life. I know that his coaches are gonna get such an awesome young man.”
The commitment was a culmination of everything for Tagovailoa-Amosa, who received 15 scholarship offers and chose the Fighting Irish over the likes of Southern California, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, among others.
“Definitely their priorities align with mine and that means so much to me. There’s no other place that I went where their priorities were faith, family and football. My faith to me is basically my life,” he said. “I know down the line, you’re always going to have family and football but I think it starts with belief in yourself and belief in God.”
Tagovailoa-Amosa’s religious background comes from his parents, who are pastors.
“It all started with my grandpa. That’s why this day is so emotional because unfortunately, he can’t be here. But he’s in a better place. It means so much to me and that’s why I cherish it so much,” Tagovailoa-Amosa said. “My parents are teaching me even more and that’s how my faith has grown. (Notre Dame) is a school of faith, even from way back when, and I really love that.”
Upon returning home from his visit to South Bend last weekend, where he saw snow for the first time, he knew he would be back there soon.
“When we came back from my trip on Sunday, I took time to just pray and really talk to my parents about it, about where I see myself and which place I feel at peace. Notre Dame was the one,” he said.
Notre Dame has its Hawaii ties, but perhaps none more noteworthy than Manti Te’o. The San Diego Chargers linebacker and Punahou alum was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2012 and led the Irish to a 12-1 season that same year.
The two talked during his visit and it struck a chord.
“It was really personal. It opened my eyes to see what Notre Dame was really about,” Tagovailoa-Amosa said. “Just that call from him, it really meant a lot. Not a lot of Hawaii kids get the opportunity to have that type of conversation.”
Amosa was beaming with as much pride as anybody else inside the Sheraton ballroom.
“I’d love for him to stay home and play for UH,” Amosa joked. “But not so many of our athletes have the honor to be recruited by all these schools he was recruited by.
“He worked so hard to be in the position he’s in. Proud to be an uncle.”