Vai's View: What's in a name? Bobby Salazar knows

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  • In Stitches Provo, Utah
    March 29, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    I loved this story. Sometimes as members of the Church we feel shy about sharing our religion. Yet, here is a man who was simply given a book by a friend and it changed so much in his life. It led him to Utah. It led him to his future wife. It led him to Argentina.

    Thank you for sharing his story, Vai.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    March 28, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    My senior year in High School, Bobby Salazar was an assistant football coach. We loved him and his husky dog named "Blue". None of us knew anything of his background except that he was an ex-BYU football player and had once tried out with the Bronco's. I loved hearing this story about him. Wish we would have known this back in 1984-85.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    March 28, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Vai you need to write a book- great stories and you tell them masterfully

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    March 28, 2011 7:05 a.m.

    A good and inspiring story, but I don't believe the part about the letter to the IRS or the part about him not knowing (when he converted) that BYU might be a good fit for a Mormon football player.

  • rickplatts Ridgecrest, CA
    March 28, 2011 3:00 a.m.

    Really great story! Thanks Vai!! My uncle Jimmy, a top high school wrestler in California, and AAU Junior National Champion, received a wrestling scholarship to BYU in the late 70's, but left after only one season due to an injury. After many years, he went back to school at the U and received a sports medicine degree which he used as a trainer in the Phillies organization for several years before leaving that to pursue other interests. Anyway, my point was supposed to be that BYU used to get some of the top wrestling talent in the country, not only Utah, and it is a shame that they continue to be absent from the sport. I realize that the school cannot support every interest that potential students might have, but I read your story about the Salazars, I couldn't help but wonder how many more wrestlers out there are "Cougars in their hearts".
    Kudos to the Salazars for living true to their values. Theirs is a truly inspiring story, and I agree with a previous commenter who said that it should be an ESPN story. Maybe with the new BYU/ESPN connection...??? See what you can do...

  • localblue Sandy, UT
    March 27, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    Great story and great write-up. I wonder if stories like this will make BYU reconsider scrapping wrestling along with men's gymnastics. Those were bad decisions by an administration that is now gone (Val Hale) and forgotten. Wrestling was on the upswing and would likely be a top program now with the quality coaching staff they had and the improved recruiting classes they were getting. Men's gymnastics was always strong.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    March 27, 2011 3:48 p.m.

    What I love about this is that Salazar is not the "typical" hero story. He has a background that is convoluted, and worked extremely hard to make a life for himself and his family.

    Salazar shows that life is not always a Cinderella story, but an actual story of self-worth and tremendous growth.

    Thanks for sharing, Vai!

  • roundball76 American Fork, UT
    March 27, 2011 11:33 a.m.

    I am always glad that I read your posts Vai! If Bob's brother is the Al Salazar that I have watched coach AAU basketball over the years, I finally understand the last name! I have wanted to ask why the red hair and the latin name-I have to say that as a family we were always impressed with Al's family at basketball games. His cute daughter was always sitting right by her dad keeping stats while his son played great basketball-mom screaming in the stands. I heard Mike is playing basketball at Westminster since his mission. Your article is great proof that family and sports can develop character and the Spirit-way to go the Salazar's. You are what you decide to be.
    Oh, my wife wanted to mention that Julie must be more that pretty to have made it possible for her husband to do all of those great things-behind every great man...

  • SJ Bobkins Gilbert, AZ
    March 27, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    Vai, you know better than to get a cheesesteak from anywhere but JIM's. Even the Cranky Flyer named Jim's best. I've eaten there since 1980 and it's the best food in the entire world. Invest in one of your kids and open a Vai's "Real Philly" Cheesesteaks in Provo, near campus, use real thin sliced round steak and Cheese Whiz, not slices of cheese. I have never found anything close to a Philly Cheesesteak outside Philly. I stayed at the Crown Plaza for 2 months as a trainer for Merck, and this 4 or 5 star hotel 5 or 6 blocks from South Street made a cheesesteak that tasted like saw dust with onions. Oh, Jim's buns are the best too. Put down a few Bookbinders (not the original BB) $75 lobsters for me.

  • AribaD Spanish Fork, UT
    March 26, 2011 11:41 p.m.

    Great story. I, too, would love to see wrestling return to BYU.

  • Cabinfever Las Vegas, NV
    March 26, 2011 7:27 p.m.

    Great blog Vai! We have lost contact with many wonderful friends from Bishop Burgi's ward at Wymount Terrace at BYU, including Bobby and Julie. It was a great place to be, sharing the same experiences with the other newly married students. Our children are now having their own experiences at BYU and loving it. It's one of the reasons we'll always be Cougars!

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    March 26, 2011 5:15 p.m.

    Great story and well written. a winner like Via.

  • oldgoat Midway, UT
    March 26, 2011 3:12 p.m.

    Great story. Thanks!

  • Blue Chelan56 Chelan, WA
    March 26, 2011 3:09 p.m.

    Thanks for the great Article Vai! Please pass on to Bobby Salazar, our greetings from Yakima Wa. and Lake Chelan where we retired. My son Mike Riggin and Rocky Winters served with him in Argentina. Mike and Julie ( Byers) were classmates, at West Valley High School in Yakima.When Mike told Bobby that he was from Yakima, Bobby said that ," WOW,I have been dating a girl from Yakima WA By the name of Julie Byers" They were both astonished!The rest is history.Best Regards to you and to Bobby and Julie. We really enjoy your amazing articles. Keep them coming, as I am married to the former Maile Forsythe of Haleiwa HI.and we enjoyed your Poly. stories and common friends that you have mentioned.Don and Maile Riggin

  • Ernesto de Bajo Albuquerque, NM
    March 26, 2011 2:53 p.m.


  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 26, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    If all of the UTAH athletes that competed at this year's NCAA wrestling championships were all one team, they would have placed fourth in the NCAA tournament. That's even a better finish than Jimmer and Company. In 1973 BYU finished fourth in the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

    Unfortunately BYU dropping its wrestling program came at a horrible time. For the last 10-15 years Utah prep wrestling has been extremely good. It took UVU seven years (because of NCAA regulations) to field a wrestling team where they would be eligible for a NCAA title. BYU"s last All-American in wrestling (Aaron Holker) left BYU after it dropped the program and won a NCAA title with Iowa State wrestling with Cael Sanderson (like the Salazars of Utah wrestling fame).
    UVU in its second year of being able to compete finished 30th in this year's NCAA tournament. Utah has too many great wrestlers for just one program and if BYU brought wrestling back, got the right coach, and put some resources behind the program, they would be a national powerhouse easy, just like they were.

  • Samaritan01 Yuma, CO.
    March 26, 2011 1:30 p.m.

    I agree with the comments made by Eagle. BYU, and other Utah-based universities, should be fielding a wrestling team instead of allowing first-rate LDS athletes to attend other schools.

    Outstanding story about the Salazar story, it is just a shame that one cannot choose both BYU and a career in wrestling at the same time.

  • WaybackCougar Salt Lake City, UT
    March 26, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    Thanks for another fantastic story!

  • Avg-Guy Orem, UT
    March 26, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    Very interesting article. It should definitely be submitted to SI and/or ESPN.
    The family history and story of overcoming as well as the accomplishments of the boys is very interesting. Reminds me of the Banach brothers from where I grew up but they didn't wrestle the same weight and no Mormon twist.

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    March 26, 2011 12:53 p.m.

    Awesome article.

    I too wish BYU still had a wrestling program. I have hoped that BYU would pick up women's lacrosse or something, so they could bring it back as a sportand still obey Title IX requirements. BYU had an awesome coach in Mark Schultz. He is the real deal.

  • utahprincipal801 Sandy, UT
    March 26, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    So wonderful to read about people who come from humble circumstances and succeed against great odds. What a testament that we are all children of God, God is no respecter of persons, loves each unconditionally, and we are all equal before him. Thanks for a wonderful article about a terrific family!

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    March 26, 2011 9:58 a.m.

    Well done, Vai...thanks so much. I know the man and his family and you capture both their goodness and their greatness. Keep up the good work!

  • eagle Provo, UT
    March 25, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    And it is very sad BYU scrapped the wrestling program. In that photo is three great wrestlers in the Salazar boys and Ethan Smith. Four other Utah wrestlers were All-Americans this season including a runner-up a the NCAA meet.

    Oh well.

    This was a great story BTW!

  • Unbelievable West Jordan, Utah
    March 25, 2011 6:57 p.m.

    AWESOME article. A tear jerker, It's evident that Bobby Salazar took great pleasure in doing things others said he couldn't do.

  • vesparider Pocatello, ID
    March 25, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    Nice article Vai.

    It was nice getting to know a little more about Bobby. I worked at UVRMC in Provo form '93-'97. I worked as a physical therapy aide and Bobby was running the cardiac rehab program there at the time. I knew him by name only and someone had mention to me once that he had played football for BYU and the Denver Broncos and that he had raced in the Ididitrod. You're blog filled me in some on things I didn't know about Bobby previously. Thanks for the blogs Vai. I really appreciated the series you did on missions a few months ago.