BYU Athletics Holds Devotional To Kickoff Big 12 Week Festivities

Jun 25, 2023, 8:59 PM | Updated: Jun 26, 2023, 7:23 am

BYU Athletics, Kalani Sitake, Fireside...

Kalani Sitake was one of the individuals that spoke during a devotional to kick off BYU's Big 12 week festivities. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

(Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU athletics has been waiting for this moment for decades. That moment is moving into the Big 12 Conference.

BYU officially joins the conference on July 1, 2023, and all of the festivities leading up to Saturday’s big day are deemed “Big Week.” It started Sunday night with players and coaches from BYU’s athletic department speaking inside the Marriott Center for a devotional.

The talks in the devotional were centered around Jesus Christ.

Brigham Young University is founded, supported, and guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They will be one of three faith-based institutions in the new Big 12 Conference. The others are Baylor and TCU.

Kalani Sitake among the speakers during the devotional

One of the speakers during BYU’s Big 12 devotional was head football coach Kalani Sitake.

Along with Sitake, wide receiver Chase Roberts and defensive end Tyler Batty represented the BYU football program. From BYU basketball, guard Trey Stewart conducted the devotional. Plus volleyball setter Whitney Bower and in soccer, Olivia Katoa, nee Wade.

BYU televised the devotional on its television network, BYUtv.

Sitake opened his talk with a “Go Cougs” message to those attending the Marriott Center and later said, “It’s going to be one of those talks.”

He then referred to his BYU program coming up one yard short of an undefeated season in 2020. That lone setback was to Coastal Carolina on 72-hour notice. Sitake tied that experience to overcome hard things in life and shared his faith in Jesus Christ.

“So we’re all going to have hard moments in life. And we’re all going to feel like we came one yard short of achieving the unattainable or the dream. It’s Jesus and the atonement that will give us strength. Those difficult times will make our rushing-the-field moments even better,” said Sitake. “It is through these moments that we will be able to enjoy the highlights of life but also find the meaning behind pain and struggle. And we will come with love because of Christ and that we will find a way to be Christ tough.”

Sitake also shared how he grew up as a child being shy. Even after serving a two-year mission for the Church, he joked he struggled for two years to get the courage to ask his now-wife, Timberly, out on a date.

He closed out his talk with some emotion by thanking the BYU football players in his program.

“I just want to express my love to our players,” Sitake said. “I’m so lucky to be your coach, and I don’t take that for granted. So thank you for being mentors to me and teaching me to be a better man. I appreciate it.”

Big 12 Week festivities hosted by BYU Athletics

On Monday, BYU is hosting a golf scramble for local media members at Cedar Hills Golf Course. There will be teams from KSL Sports, KSL TV, and Cougar Sports Saturday participating in the 18-hole event that will also feature some opportunities for interviews with players and coaches.

Then for fans, on Friday, June 30, BYU will have a “BIG Countdown” at the Student Athlete Building at 11:30 p.m. to ring in BYU’s new life as a member of the Big 12. This Saturday, from 3-6 p.m., BYU is holding “the BIG Party” to celebrate BYU officially being in the Big 12 Conference.

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 Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Athletics Holds Devotional To Kickoff Big 12 Week Festivities