BYU Community Rallies Around Former Latter-day Saint Cougar Fan, Holmoe Responds

Jul 29, 2022, 11:10 AM | Updated: 11:14 am
BYU Football, Fans, Kalani Sitake...
BYU football fans rallied around an Ex-Latter-day Saint Cougar fan to make him still feel welcomed in Cougar Nation. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah Kalani Sitake always promotes the BYU football program as a family. That family extends to the fan base, who Sitake has always praised. As he was once one of them, growing up as a BYU diehard.

Well, Sitake would have to be proud of the support they’ve shown a BYU fan who is no longer a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church is the ownership group of Brigham Young University, and its believed that a large portion of BYU’s fan base is members.

“Hope there’s still room … for people like us”

That BYU fan is Zac from Denver, Colorado. Zac sent off a tweet that read, “I’m gonna be vulnerable. I love BYU! I got my degree there. I met my wife there. Despite us being ex-LDS now we cherish our time at BYU. And we are still HUGE fans of @BYUfootball. Hope there’s still room in this crowd for people like us #GoCougs.”

For those who don’t get on Twitter often, the BYU football following on the bird app is passionate. Cougar fans that peruse Twitter are active and they engage with content that centers around their beloved BYU football team.

So it should come as no surprise that since Zac sent his tweet on July 27, he’s received over 200 replies and over 1,700 likes.

Nearly all of the comments were supportive of the fan. BYU’s new Associate AD of creative strategy, Tyson Hutchins, replied, “If you ever feel unwelcome at BYU, we are doing something wrong. Thank you for sharing. Hope to see you at a game this fall!”

Tom Holmoe sent a message: “One team. One heartbeat.”

The tweet even caught the attention of BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe who quoted the tweet on his account and wrote, “Cougar Nation-we gotta take care of each other. One team. One heartbeat. I’ve been part of teams for 25 years at BYU. Many highs, some lows. Through it all, we always-Find A Way! Keep growing. Keep getting stronger. Keep fighting. [Love] that you need us Zac. We [love] & NEED you ALL too.”

BYU football legend Steve Young showed his support

Holmoe’s former teammate and one of the legends of BYU football, Steve Young, replied to the commentary from Holmoe with another supportive message.

“Couldn’t agree more Tom. We are forever a family!! Much love to all Cougar Nation,” wrote Young.

Young has always been willing to show his support for individuals that feel marginalized. In 2020, Young used his platform to support LGBTQ+ students attending BYU.

BYU fan Zac shared a mind-blown emoji when he saw a comment from one of BYU’s greatest players in Young. He also was taken aback by all the positive responses from Cougar fans towards him.

“Wow! This blew up. Apparently there are lots of people who share this sentiment, and it’s clear there’s room for us all. Super proud of Cougar Nation!”

BYU football opens up the 2022 season on the road against the USF Bulls on Saturday, September 3. The first home game at LaVell Edwards Stadium will see BYU face defending Big 12 Champion Baylor on September 10.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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