Sale Isaia Jr., an Oceanside High School graduate who went on to play in the NFL before becoming an educator, died last month. He was 50 years old.
His son, Jacob Isaia, who plays football for Fresno State, discussed his father’s death with the Shanahan Report, a publication that looks at “behind-the-scenes sports news.” Sale Isaia suffered a heart attack and died on Nov. 23.
Local services are planned for Dec. 20, according to the report.
Jacob Isaia, despite his grief, played in Fresno State’s regular-season finale three days after his father’s death, and the conference championship game a week later.
“It’s what he would have wanted me to do,” Jacob told the Shanahan Report. “He would have said, ‘Get through this Mountain West season. Have fun with the guys on the team and play hard.’”
According to an obituary posted to Parker-Price, a funeral home, Sale Jr. was born in Honolulu to Sale Sr. and Elega Isaia on June 13, 1972.
He graduated from Oceanside High and attended UCLA before going on to play in the NFL for seven years, with teams including the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots.
Upon his retirement from the NFL, he moved to Topeka, where he worked for Lawrence Gardner High School as a paraprofessional. He worked with troubled youth and, noted the obituary, “never gave up on them even when they gave up on themselves.”
In addition to his son, Jacob, Sale is survived by his mother, brothers Isaia and Maselino, and sisters Elena and Maumea.
There is also an online fundraiser in his memory.