7 months ago

Galu Tagovailoa: Best part of Tua’s Bama career was ‘watching him give glory to God all the time’

In an interview that originally aired on Tuesday, Galu Tagovailoa revealed the dramatic moments surrounding his eldest son, Tua, declaring for April’s NFL Draft.

Speaking with WBRC’s Christina Chambers, Galu also – not for the first time by any stretch – gave a powerful testimony about his and his family’s faith in God.

Galu described the past two weeks or so as being “really crazy.”

“Some tough, tough decisions to make,” the father added, referring to whether Tua would return to the University of Alabama for his senior season or move on to start his professional career. “And we got through it.”

He admitted that he has been having trouble sleeping, and then added that prayer helped put his mind at ease so he could get some sleep at least.

“[L]ately I couldn’t sleep,” Galu shared. “It was tough — just thinking of the whole thing, we thought about him coming back, we thought about what are the pros and the cons, and then him leaving, what are the pros and the cons. I think today was just one of the days that I finally got to get some rest… 21 days of prayer, it’s really helping… [I said] a prayer this morning, me and my wife… it helped me sleep and it helped bring some peace of mind and just relax.”

While Galu was carrying the stress of the important decision, he emphasized that Tua bore the brunt of the situation.

When the star quarterback on Monday morning officially announced the decision in a press conference alongside Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, Galu advised that it was a major “sigh of relief” for Tua.

“We didn’t know the decision until the day of,” the father explained. “We kept going back and forth with him on ‘what’s the deal?’ you know. ‘Are you looking at going, not going?’ And he kept telling us that he just had to talk to coach (Saban) and was still undecided.”

Prayer and spiritual guidance were majorly involved in Tua’s process, as well as the family’s.

“We asked him to just allow the Lord to just guide his decision,” Galu said. “We talked to our pastors… our home pastor here, Pastor Chris Hodges (of Church of the Highlands). And he’s been talking with Pastor Perry Stone and the things that he’s been going through. There were a lot of good things that were mentioned. Pastor Chris was saying we [have to] go with what brings peace. And he has to go with that.”

“And I guess the decision is what he made, it brings peace to [Tua],” Galu added.

He then talked about the family’s amazing journey from Hawaii to living in Alabama, with Tua’s Monday press conference acting as a moment to pause and reflect on how they got this far — as well as what comes next.

“It was a leap of faith coming out here,” Galu outlined. “We sacrificed our jobs, left our jobs back home, we left our [extended] family back home.”

Galu continued to say that Tua’s decision was merely the latest leap of faith.

“We believe that it is God’s plan,” he stressed, “for him to move on to his next journey of his life.”

The father explained that Tua has not told his parents what ultimately swayed him to decide to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, advising that Tua told them the decision after they arrived at the UA Athletics complex on Monday morning as the quarterback prepared to work with the department’s communications team on his speech.

“He said, ‘I’m going to go.’ And that’s when his mom broke down, we teared up,” Galu detailed. “And then we had a quick prayer. We prayed on it, wanted to make sure his heart was going to be right when he makes that announcement and (to make sure) that’s what he really wants to do.”

Chambers then brought up the viral video she captured in August 2018, from the opening game in which Tua made his first start for the Tide. The powerful shot captured Galu and his wife, Diane, praying in the stands.

While it was believed at the time that they were praying after seeing their son was selected as the starter as he went on to the field, Galu on Tuesday explained that the video was actually taken before they knew if Tua or Jalen Hurts would start. The Tagovailoa parents, Galu said, were praying for the success and wellbeing of whomever the starter would be, whether that be their son or Hurts.

“That was a special moment,” Galu reminisced. “We just told ourselves that whoever comes out and becomes the starter, we have to support him and we’ll pray. We know we’re going to pray for either or, whether it was Tua or Jalen. We just started praying. They didn’t even make that announcement, Tua hadn’t even run out yet. But we just prayed on whoever was going to be the starter to take the team that last year.”

Asked by Chambers what his favorite play of Tua’s was during his time in Tuscaloosa, Galu said there were too many to pick just one.

“[B]ut I think the most exciting thing to me was just watching him give glory to God all the time,” Galu added.

He would go on to say that he hopes Tua’s most lasting legacy at the University of Alabama is people remembering what kind of person, not just player, he is.

“He loves Alabama. This kid loves Alabama. Especially his relationship with Coach Saban,” Galu told Chambers. “I think that’s something that he’s going to cherish for the rest of his life, just what he’s built with Coach Saban. Not just on the field, but also off the field. He’s learned a lot from Coach. There’s so much knowledge and wisdom from Coach Saban — it’s something that he can carry with him …”

Galu said that Tua also “loves people” and “to have fun.”

Now, Galu and Diane are said to be “embracing” Tua’s journey into the next stage of his life.

“We’re excited,” the father emphasized. “That’s something that me and my wife have talked about. Wherever God puts him, it’s a place where we feel that it’s Tua’s duty and job to reach out to that state and the people of the team that he’s going to be playing for. The journey that he is on is God’s journey, not our journey. And that’s what we’re excited about.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Ledbetter: Alabama’s teachers are standing tall with return to classroom instruction

All of the personality traits, values and life lessons that we carry with us as adults were shaped and instilled in us by the people we encountered in childhood. For many, the strongest influences came from our schoolteachers, who opened new worlds of knowledge and taught us skills that remain with us today.

Consider for a moment the music teacher who taught you to play an instrument, the math teacher who led you to a love of numbers, the history teacher who brought to life the stories of our nation’s past, or the English teacher who inspired you to love great literature.

Teaching is one of the few professions whose impact continues to last for decades after the individual who does the job retires.

As many children across Alabama are preparing to return to school even while the coronavirus pandemic continues, teachers have never been more important or vital or deserving of our deepest appreciation.


Returning to brick-and-mortar school instruction will, hopefully, restore a sense of normalcy to our children’s lives in these decidedly abnormal times.

A return to the classroom and even resuming the online instruction that some are adopting will also help our students maintain their education progress and continue the important social and emotional development that interaction with their peers and instructors allows.

Our English second language learners will receive the communication skills they need in order to better assimilate, and many low-income students will receive the healthy nourishment from the school lunch program that might be denied them at home.

Given the current circumstances and environment, I recognize that some of our public school employees may have a sense of trepidation about returning to school, and that is certainly understandable. Wearing a face mask to do something as simple as shopping for groceries, paying for gas or walking into a restaurant offers all of us a constant reminder that COVID-19 is a very contagious virus.

But our teachers and educators are setting their concerns aside and answering the call to duty.

I know that Gov. Kay Ivey, State Superintendent Eric Mackey and the staff of the Alabama Department of Education took great care in developing the “Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools,” and local school boards are being equally diligent in creating and implementing their own safety guidelines.

The importance of sanitization will be stressed more than ever before, and billions of dollars made available to Alabama through the federal CARES Act will help ensure that any resources that are needed to reopen schools safely will be readily available.

As the majority leader of the Alabama House, I can also offer assurances that the legislature stands ready to pass legislation or make appropriations that are necessary to ease the return to classroom instruction once we are in session.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an even deeper appreciation of the frontline heroes who have remained on the job and provided the most essential services throughout the crisis.

Doctors and nurses in our hospitals and health clinics; grocery store and other retail employees; law enforcement officers, emergency workers and firefighters; postal workers; sanitation workers; restaurant personnel; and those in dozens of other professions are among those who continued working even when times were their toughest.

I am proud to say that the teachers, school nurses, administrators and support personnel in Alabama’s schools also rank high upon the list of those who have stood tall, and their already invaluable service to our state is even more important to students and parents in each of our cities, towns and crossroads today.

Helen Keller, one of Alabama’s most inspirational figures, once said, “It was my teacher’s genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me.”

As I close by wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy school year, we would all do well to keep Helen Keller’s words in mind.

State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) serves as majority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives

37 mins ago

Alabama Ag Commissioner Pate gives update on unsolicited seed packages from China, urges public to stay ‘vigilant’

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) Commissioner Rick Pate gave an update Monday afternoon on the spate of seed packets from China that people across Alabama have received in recent weeks despite never having ordered anything.

Pate said that after the state seed labs had performed tests on the packets they had collected from individuals across Alabama, and none of them proved to be dangerous.

“Right at 50% of them proved be some kind of weed flower … 41% were vegetables, and 9% were herbs … we found no noxious compounds, no dangerous compounds,” said Pate at the event.

However, he warned, “They might send out the first seeds that weren’t treated with anything, have a sense of security come about, and then later send something out that could be harmful.”


The commissioner further urged members of the public to refrain from planting any unsolicited seeds and continue to report them to the Department.

“At the very least something criminal has gone on here,” stated Pate, referencing laws that prevent seeds from being moved across state lines without being inspected by the relevant agencies.

Pate said his department had collected 252 seed samples as of Monday morning.

A total of 385 individuals in all but 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties have received one of the packets, according to information relayed at the press conference. State workers will be collecting the remaining samples soon.

(AL. Dept. of Ag/Contributed)

“Because we’ve got such a good food and drug lab, because we’ve got such a good seed lab, we knew this was inside of our comfort zone,” Pate said of the decision to conduct the seed tests in-house as opposed to shipping them to the federal government.

Andy Tipton, division director of Food Safety and Ag Compliance, said that 25 states had reported similar seed packets showing up at consumers’ doorsteps. He added that the ADAI was turning over all relevant info to the FBI, who were monitoring the situation.

Pate further told Yellowhammer News that one of the prevailing theories remained that the cause was an internet seller running a scam to artificially inflate their customer numbers and create opportunities for fake reviews.

He ended his press conference saying, “We have no idea the reason for this happening, but it doesn’t mean we can stop being vigilant.”

Any Alabamian still receiving one of the packets can report it here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

1 hour ago

Alabama basketball star John Petty returning for senior season

University of Alabama star forward John Petty, Jr. will return for his senior season, the player announced on Monday.

The Huntsville native was a second-team All-SEC honoree this past season, after leading the Southeastern Conference in three-point percentage.

Petty was considering entering the 2020 NBA Draft, however he decided to return for a final season in Tuscaloosa after evaluating his prospects. Another college season could see Petty lock down his chance at being a first-round pick.


Tide head coach Nate Oats released a statement on Monday afternoon celebrating Petty’s return.

“It’s great to have John back for his senior year,” Oats said. “He is certainly one of the best, if not the best, shooters in the country which is extremely important to us with how we play.”

“He’s made it clear that it’s his goal to become a first round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and we’re going to work with him to make sure he’s in the best position to reach that goal. Let’s get to work!” the coach concluded.

Follow along with the Bama men’s basketball program here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

State of Alabama, University of Alabama System officials unveil GuideSafe app aiming to keep schools virus-free

Key figures from Alabama’s government and university systems joined to announced the new GuideSafe platform that bills itself as the key for students to safely return to college campuses amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The GuideSafe platform will help the state fulfill its promise to test every single college student before they return to campus, and the platform will provide a space for ongoing health monitoring throughout the semester.

The unveiling took place over videoconference, where State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, University of Alabama System Chancellor Finis “Fess” St. John and other key players detailed the importance of GuideSafe to the upcoming semester.

GuideSafe was developed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and tech company MotionMobs. It will be provided to any educational institution in the state that wishes to use it.


Governor Kay Ivey apportioned some of Alabama’s CARES Act funds for the development of GuideSafe and the universal free testing for college students.

St. John on Monday praised Ivey’s “decisive action to provide funding” for the testing initiative and other campus reopening measures.

(Click for higher resolution version that will open in new tab)

GuideSafe will be accessible via app on smartphones and tablets and via web browser on any computer. Students will be invited to join the platform in the coming weeks.

One of the key features of the GuideSafe app is that it will track the location of students via smartphone and then inform them if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“This new app – using Google- and Apple-led technology and created by UAB faculty, staff and MotionMobs for the people of Alabama – is a necessary tool in our effort to return to college campuses safely this fall,” said UAB President Ray Watts.

The app also allows students and faculty to report symptoms as they experience them, and get directed to a nearby testing site if necessary.

“The combination of these tools enables every participating college, university and K-12 school to engage faculty, students and staff regarding on-going monitoring of symptoms, exposure and risks of acquiring COVID-19,” said Sue Feldman, professor and director of graduate programs in health informatics at UAB.

A general factsheet on GuideSafe is available here.


Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95

2 hours ago

Trump fires TVA board chair after outsourcing uproar

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that he was removing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s board chairman, Skip Thompson, an Alabamian.

Thompson, a resident of Decatur, is the president and CEO of Corporate Billing, a subsidiary of Birmingham-based National Bank of Commerce. He previously served as the president and CEO of both First American Bank in Decatur and First Commercial Bank in Huntsville, as well as serving on the board of Decatur Utilities.

Trump appointed Thompson to the TVA board in 2018. He was elected chairman of the board last year.


The president on Monday cited TVA’s plan to outsource information technology jobs overseas as the reason for firing Thompson and one other board member. Trump warned the other board members that they would be next if the outsourcing continued. The president also called on them to replace the organization’s CEO, who Trump said was making far too much money.

The president added, “Let this serve as a warning to any federally appointed board: If you betray American workers, you will hear two words: ‘You’re fired.’”

The TVA is the electricity provider for much of North Alabama. Self-described as “a corporate agency of the United States,” it is regulated at the federal level and not under the jurisdiction of the Alabama Public Service Commission.

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) applauded Trump’s move on Monday.

“TVA fires AMERICANS & hires cheap foreign labor,” the North Alabama congressman tweeted. “TVA executive salaries EXORBITANT. TVA=NO competition, unlike private sector execs who compete to earn profits to earn pay… WAY TO GO [President Trump]!”

RELATED: Doug Jones: ‘The TVA has lost its way’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn