UH’s Sheffield and The Rock bond over Zoa energy drink

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson went out of his way to approach University of Hawaii football associate head coach and special teams coordinator Thomas Sheffield on Saturday.

Sheffield and Johnson were both at McKinley for the XFL showcase, Sheffield as a supportive onlooker for UH alums, while Johnson is the co-owner of the league.

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Sheffield, who joined UH’s staff in late January, has quickly built a reputation for his relativelessness in all aspects of his job, which is fueled by Zoa Energy Drink. Zoa was founded in 2021 by an ownership group involving Johnson, who is the CEO (Chief Energy Officer) of Zoa.

Zoa’s website describes itself as “all about healthy, positive energy that helps us all focus, get stronger, and unleash the warrior within ourselves.”

Sheffield has made frequent social media posts about his affinity for Zoa and has successfully converted various UH coaches into being fans of the drink as well.

On Saturday, Johnson was notified of Sheffield’s presence at the showcase and had a minutes-long conversation with one of his biggest customers.

“Coach Sheffield, he loves Zoa. He came on our radar unprompted. It’s not like someone from Zoa, one of our executives,” Johnson said. “This was from him. He tried Zoa, he loved it, but here’s what was great about coach Sheffield trying Zoa for the first time I think last year, loving it: He just knew that there was a strong, deeper connection to this can, and to the logo that’s on this can.

“He just said, ‘I love Zoa, I want my players to enjoy the Zoa’ and it all just happened really naturally and organically, and that was the first time I met him. I told him, ‘Thank you so much, just for all the outwardly love you’ve shown.’ But ultimately, my goal, and coach Sheffield knows this, our Zoa executives know this, the company who has an agreement with University of Hawaii football knows this, my goal is to create some sort of partnership where we’re taking care of the players .”

Sheffield, who revered Johnson long before his consumption of Zoa, won’t be forgetting Saturday’s experience anytime soon.

“Anytime you get to meet your childhood hero, it’s a pretty cool moment for anybody, it doesn’t matter what age you are,” Sheffield said. “That guy played a huge part of my life through a television screen. It was a cool moment, it was cool to be in his presence, and the conversation, we’ll just keep private.

“I just had an idea and I went all in (with promoting Zoa), typically how I do things. I knew there was a relationship with the island. I wanted to do something where I could grab bis attention and hopefully do something great for our kids and allow him to come back around the university and be a part of the ‘Braddahhood’ in any form or fashion. I just wanted to do that for our kids and luckily enough, there was a lot of tweets and a lot of things that went out where he grabs his attention so he kind of knew who I was, which was a cool moment.”

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