As Brigham Young University prepares to open its season this week, head football coach Kalani Sitake took time to acknowledge the program’s small army of young men who have or are currently serving full-time missions around the world for school’s sponsor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The coach delivered a short message in a video that posted on social media Tuesday.

“I just want to give a quick shoutout to all the missionaries serving out there all over the world, let you know how much of an impact it’s made to our program,” Sitake said.

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The Cougars’ coach, who received a contract extension this week, cited two notable facts in the video:

  • BYU’s roster has 86 returned missionary players who collectively speak 12 different languages.
  • The BYU football program also has 25 full-time missionaries who are out serving in locations worldwide.

Missionary service contributes to BYU’s culture of “love and learn,” the coach said.

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“It’s really important to maximize opportunities to love and learn, and that’s to serve a mission, serving other people, learning how to love one another, be great disciples of Christ, and learn as much as you can, the experiences that you get there,” Sitake said in the video. “Keep growing and learning. Love you guys, and go Cougs.”

The video concludes with future BYU player-missionaries out in the mission field quoting Latter-day Saint scripture from Doctrine and Covenants section 4, which teaches principles of missionary work.

The missionary players quoting scripture the video include Elder Logan Pili, serving in the Washington Vancouver Mission; Elder Nukuluve Helo, California Fresno Mission; Elder Tate Romney, Texas San Antonio Mission; Elder Logan Fano, Texas San Antonio Mission; Elder Raider Damuni, California Oakland San Francisco Mission; Elder Ace Kaufusi, California San Jose Mission; and Elder Preston Rex, Colorado Denver Mission.

BYU opens the 2021 season against Arizona at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas this Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

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