Ma'a Tanuvasa, Former NFL Defensive Lineman

Ma'a Tanuvasa, Former NFL Defensive Lineman

Originally Appearing in "Take Action" (Abstract 6)
Interviewed by Robin Dazzeo

Maʻa Tanuvasa is currently the Mililani High School Football Coach, former NFL Defensive Lineman, and two-time Super Bowl winner (1998, 1999).


Are you a particularly active person? If so, how? If not, why not?

Staying in good physical shape has always been important to me.  I’ve been coaching the Mililani High School football team since I moved home in 2003. It keeps me active and I also work out. I help out at the Wahiawā Boxing Club, too. And I love the water; I’m an avid body surfer, mainly on the North Shore.

What’s your calendar / to-do list / organization look like and why does it suit you?

I’m very lucky to have an organized wife! I can always count on her honey-do lists.

Are you more introverted or extroverted? How does that affect what you do?

I’d say I’m in the middle. Introverted around people I don’t know, and more extroverted with my friends. When I was playing professional ball, I made new friends and lost touch with old ones as people were traded between teams.

How do you relax or decompress?

Physical activity is the best form of relaxation for me. Boxing, going to the gym, and body surfing really help me to decompress. Of course, there’s nothing more relaxing than time spent hanging with the family.

Any goals this summer?

Every summer I go on June Jones’ American Samoa Goodwill Mission. Along with donating athletic equipment and providing scholarships, the Mission joins together our local coaches and former NFL players (like myself and Jessie Sapolu) to offer football clinics. Each year, physicians and nurses from Kapiʻolani Medical Center join us on a medical mission to provide care and medical supplies to the LBJ Tropical Medical Center. It’s an awesome trip.

What do you like best about what you do?

Watching the students at the high school grow and become successful citizens in our community is very meaningful for me. I love to run into former students and see what they’ve become, meet their families, see how they are giving back. As a coach, I like that football teaches teamwork. Players have to count on each other.