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Navy fired Ken Niumatalolo in ruthless fashion over the weekend.
However, he wasn’t actually fired Sunday. The winningest coach in Navy football history was fired Saturday night after losing to Army. Niumatalolo told ESPN he was sitting alone in the locker room in Philadelphia when AD Chet Gladchuk walked in and terminated him.
“First of all, we just got kicked in the gut. I was a little bit numb prior to him saying that, so most of it I couldn’t comprehend. I’m just like, ‘Chet, why don’t you take some time to relax.’ He said, ‘Well, it’s been building up,'” Niumatalolo explained to ESPN.
The main problem for Gladchuk was the disappointing slide and a 4-10 record against other service academies the past several seasons. His main two goals for the program are making a bowl game and winning the Commander’s Trophy.
“That’s been the constant bar we strive for, is to achieve those two goals, which I believe are very realistic, very reasonable and have been consistent for 20 years and therefore this does not come as any surprise. It’s just an expectation that unfortunately fell short,” Gladchuk explained.
It was a brutal end for Ken Niumatalolo.
Niumatalolo was the winningest coach in Midshipmen football history, and he had some incredible seasons with the program.
He definitely deserved better than being fired in the locker room right after losing to Army. That’s just cut-throat and ruthless.
At least wait until you’re back to Annapolis and can have a proper conversation. Firing a man in the locker room while he’s processing a loss just isn’t necessary. This has the same vibes as firing Lane Kiffin on the tarmac, but maybe even worse.
Given what Ken Niumatalolo gave to Navy football for more than decade as the face of the program, he certainly deserved to be fired with more class. Unfortunately, that’s just not how sports works oftentimes.