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Two former Arizona Wildcat greats selected as finalists for the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame

Edwin Mulitalo

The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, headed by former Arizona Wildcats coach Dick Tomey, announced 12 finalists Thursday for its 2019 class.

Two of the players included are former Wildcats.

Standouts Joe Salave’a and Edwin Mulitalo were selected as part of the 12 finalists from an original list of 100 nominees.

Salave’a, now the assistant head coach and defensive line coach for the Oregon Ducks, was a two-time All-Pac-10 defensive tackle for the ‘Cats. He was a fourth round draft pick by the Tennessee Oilers in the 1998 draft and spent eight years in the NFL. During his time as a pro he played for Tennessee, Baltimore, San Diego and Washington.

After his last NFL season in 2006 he took a year off before getting his first coaching gig in 2008 as a the defensive line coach for the San Jose State Spartans. After a two-year stint in the Bay Area, Salave’a made his way back to Tucson to be UA’s defensive line coach for a year for Mike Stoops. Once Rich Rodriguez was named head coach, Salave’a was not retained by the new regime. Instead, in 2012, he made his way to the Palouse to become the D-line coach for the Cougars before making his most recent move to Eugene in 2017.

Mulitalo made his way to Tucson in 1997 from Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in Rexburg, Idaho. He started every game over two seasons for the ‘Cats at left tackle before being drafted in the fourth round by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1999 NFL draft. From there Mulitalo had a nice 10-year career, playing for the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions.

Mulitalo was a part of the 2000 Ravens team that won Super Bowl XXXV.

Mulitalo played in the league until 2008 and took a long break from football, trying his hand at teaching in Samoa. In 2015, Mulitalo returned to football as a volunteer O-line coach for the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. After a season in Cedar City, he made the move to the East Coast when he became the defensive line coach for Southern Virginia in early 2016. After two years, he was appointed as the head coach for Southern Virginia in March of 2018.

Only four of the 12 nominees will be announced on October 24 as the Class of 2019.