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A Letter From Shaun Aguano to the Sun Devil Family

Sep 20, 2022

Sun Devil Family,
Family. It's an interesting word, one with many definitions that means something special or unique to every individual. Having been born and raised in Hawai'i, the culture I grew up with always emphasized the power and importance of Ohana – or family. It's probably a phrase you've heard before, Ohana. Whether in passing or through pop culture or even from your own upbringing and cultural environment. 
The interesting thing about the islands and this idea of Ohana is the concept that family isn't exclusive to blood. We always hear that "it takes a village to raise a child." Every person in a village plays a role in molding a younger soul's life. How easy it is to forget the impact that every one of our interactions has on our youth. And what is family if not for a group of persons joined together by shared life experiences and a common desire and purpose to provide for and elevate the youngsters that are a part of their "village."
We all have our own Sun Devil story. We all have a reason that brought us to this "family." It's the common denominator for why we feel the way that we do after both the highs and the lows. When things are good, sometimes it's hard to imagine you'd want to celebrate with anyone but the members of your family. 
Sometimes, families fight. Every family does. But the strongest families are the ones that can come back together and support and love each other, regardless of their disagreements. 
We are the Sun Devil Family. I am proud to be a part of this family. The young men on this football team are my family. My fellow coaches and staff members are my family. Our alumni are my family. Every student-athlete in this athletic department is my family. Every trainer, every coach, every administrator. Every fan that walks into Sun Devil Stadium on Saturdays to watch these young men is my family. Every donor and supporter and fan who invests their hard-earned money into this program because being a Sun Devil means something to them - they are part of my family. 
You are all extensions of my family. And I am grateful to you for allowing me to be a part of yours. 
It takes a village. We know that. We revel at the success of these young men and we endure the heartbreak of their failures. The emotions of our shared experience epitomize what it means to be a part of a family, a part of something bigger than ourselves. The reason we feel so passionate - the jubilation and the vitriol - is because we care. We care about our fellow family members. We care about our Sun Devils. 
For us - my family - a new season starts on Saturday. We are 0-0 in Pac-12 play and all our goals still lay ahead of us and within reach. I still believe in this team. Our coaches believe in this team. And most important of all, our players still believe in this team. As the leader of this program, I know that I must embrace them, coach them, mentor them, but also - and most importantly - love them. 
And it is my hope that you, my Ohana, will stand with me as we traverse this path, welcoming the challenges that face us. There will be trials and tribulations. But I assure you we will not flinch because I know that these young men want nothing more than to put on a performance worthy of celebrating for you. And it is through your support that we will help these young men succeed, not only on the football field, but in life, as husbands, fathers and as members of society. Because it takes a village. And there's no other village I would rather be in than this one, with you, my Sun Devil Family. 

-Shaun Aguano