Football coaches are often very big on prayer in the locker room before a big game. An Orange Bowl is worth praying for. So is a national championship. But cynics say you don’t always find them on their knees the day after the game. They put God on hold until they need him again.Read More
Sal Aunese left here three years ago for the University of Colorado to play quarterback and get an education.
Aunese performed the first task brilliantly, leading the Colorado Buffaloes to an 8-4 season and a Freedom Bowl appearance in his second year as the starter.
Aunese did not have the opportunity to complete the second task.
He died of stomach cancer Sept. 23 at age 21.Read More
On Sept. 23 at 8:47 p.m. Aunese died of stomach and lung cancer. But as a clergyman told them during a memorial service, and as running back Eric Bieniemy repeats over and over: “Sal’s still here. You just have to point a little higher.”Read More
Linebacker Junior Seau of USC wears a towel with the name ‘Sal’ printed in large letters.
Sal refers to Sal Aunese, the Colorado quarterback who died last month after a six-month battle with stomach cancer. Seau and Aunese were cousins who grew up together in San Diego.Read More
Under a high blue sky on a perfect fall day last week, with the front range of the Rocky Mountains at his back and the bustle of noontime in front of the University of Colorado's Norlin Library passing before his eyes, Sal Aunese sat on a concrete bench and talked about freedom.Read More
Quarterback Sal Aunese, who made the Times’ second-team All-County squad a year ago, has rushed for 274 yards and four touchdowns; and running back Roger Price has gained 387 yards and scored five times. Brett Smith, a fullback who had been out with an injury since the season opener, will return tonight.Read More
It may well have been the most deafening moment of silence in the history of college football. Just before the kickoff of their game last Saturday with Washington in Seattle, Colorado’s players dropped to their knees, pointed to the weepy sky that spread like a bruise above Husky Stadium and, as opposing players and more than 69,000 spectators looked on in silence, bade a wordless farewell to quarterback Sal Aunese, who had died a week earlier of stomach and lung cancer at age 21. That this silent salute looked a lot like 60 guys signaling “We’re No. 1” may have been the purest of coincidences. Then again, judging by the 45-28 defeat the Buffaloes dealt the Huskies to raise their record to 4-0, maybe it wasn’t. “We pointed to the sky to let Sal know we were thinking about him,” said Darian Hagan, a sophomore who replaced Aunese as the starting quarterback. “And to say the sky’s the limit for this team.”Read More
Every member of the Colorado football team knelt down near midfield on the artificial turf at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
With tears streaming down the faces of some of the Buffaloes, they all raised an arm and pointed to the sky.
Then, the Buffaloes, who had established themselves as an elite team in Division I football, took the field with heavy hearts and routed host Washington 45-28, on Sept. 30, 1989.Read More
This week, Colorado is acknowledging two important dates in its football history.
Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of the death of quarterback Sal Aunese, who succumbed to stomach cancer Sept. 23, 1989 — just six weeks after being diagnosed and during what would have been his junior season.Read More
A swell of crowd noise, loud enough to blot out thought and envelop the senses, was periodically piped into the football stadium at the University of Colorado on an otherwise quiet afternoon last week.
Strangely, however, this intrusion into the Buffaloes’ practice did not have the desired effect. Although sound reverberated off empty seats and could be heard a block away, students on foot or bikes seemed not to notice. No one running plays on the field seemed too bothered, either. READ MORERead More
The first thing a writer learns in journalism class is “Don’t bury the lead.” In the first two or three paragraphs of a story, tell your readers why you’re writing the story. I imagine the same theory holds true in film school. Early on, tell viewers why they purchased a ticket to see your production. On Friday in Hollywood, “Born To Lead: The Sal Aunese Story” made its theatrical debut. It must run for a week in Los Angeles and New York to receive consideration for an Oscar in the Best Documentary Film category.Read More
Nearly 10 years in the making, “Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story” is ready for its debut. The documentary, which is based on the life of former Vista High and University of Colorado quarterback Sal Aunese, will open in Los Angeles and New York on Friday for a week-long run that is required for a possible Academy Award nomination in the Best Documentary category.Read More
Aunese is a former CU quarterback who passed away on Sept. 23, 1989, in Boulder after a fight with inoperable stomach cancer. The film, which has been years in the making, portrayed the life of a young man who grew up in Oceanside, Calif., destined for greatness on the field. Raised in a tight-knit Samoan family, Aunese was a star player in his youth and in high school. The film captures footage from throughout Aunese's career and also features interviews with several members of his family, past teammates and coaches in high school and college and his close friends from Boulder.Read More
An exhilarating sports documentary film about the first NCAA Samoan quarterback, Sal Aunese, who in 1989, takes a down and out team to the National Title – only not in the way that you may think.
Sal Aunese was the University of Colorado’s star Samoan Quarterback who died of stomach cancer in 1989, and his team promptly dedicated their season to him. It is a rousing story of courage, friendship, and living life against the most brutal of obstacles.Read More
During a private screening at the Colorado University south campus I was privileged enough to experience Born to Lead:The Sal Aunese Story, which is about how Sal Aunese changed CU's football program forever. Let's break it down.
Biopics of inspiring people can be powerful films. Watching the unlikely genius make it big in the music industry, become a sports legend, or rise from obscurity to take Hollywood by storm can be very fun. The audience can vicariously live through the characters for 2 hours as they accomplish their dreams. Most biopics have similar endings though.Read More
There were moments of laughter. Moments that brought cheers.
There also moments that sent tears down cheeks and filled the theater with a chorus of sniffles.
On Saturday night, several Colorado football greats and supporters were on hand at the CU South Denver campus to watch a special screening of "Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story."Read More