Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Paul Soliai has pledged $250,000 to the University of Utah’s new football center, the school announced Tuesday.
Soliai played at Utah from 2005-06 and was named second-team all-Mountain West Conference as a senior. He was the Dolphins’ fourth-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
“I’m thankful I can donate and help out the University of Utah football team and give back to the school,” Soliai said. “They gave me the opportunity to play, and as a kid from Samoa, it’s something I’m thankful for every day. Without the University giving me a scholarship to play the sport I love, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Soliai arrived at Utah after spending two seasons at Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan.
“We are extremely grateful to Paul and LeTasha for their generous gift to our new football facility,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Paul was a great player for us and his loyalty to our program and its continued success demonstrates the kind of person he is. We are proud to have his name in our new facility.”
“We cherish this donation from Paul because it shows how deeply he felt about his experience at the University of Utah,” Utah athletics director Dr. Chris Hill said. “We are appreciative that he is now giving to the future of this program, as his generosity will impact recruiting classes for years to come.”