Navy Announces Shocking Decision On Coach Ken Niumatalolo

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Navy has fired football coach Ken Niumatalolo.

The Midshipmen lost Saturday 20-17 to Army in one of the sport’s greatest rivalries and that turned out to be the last game Niumatalolo will ever coach with the team.

“Our sincerest gratitude to Coach Ken for what has been a distinguished and impactful legacy at the Naval Academy. Navy football flourished for many years under his leadership. He will forever be remembered for the influence he has had on the lives of those who played for him. We all have great respect and appreciation for his 25 years of service to the Academy,” Chet Gladchuk announced Sunday afternoon.

Defensive coordinator Brian Newberry has been elevated to the interim head coach role until a permanent replacement can be found.

Ken Niumatalolo has a complicated legacy.

Overall, there’s no doubt Niumatalolo is a very good football coach, and he punched above his weight on a regular basis with the Midshipmen.

That’s what makes this firing so shocking. In his career, he went 109-83 since taking over for a game in 2007. He’s also 6-5 in bowl games. Certainly not stunning numbers, but you have to remember Navy is a notoriously hard place to win at. There are admission standards and most elite players simply don’t want to play at service academies. Yet, Niumatalolo won at least 10 games three different times, including as recently as 2019. He’s also the winningest coach in program history.

Navy fires football coach Ken Niumatalolo. (Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

However, Ken Niumatalolo is 4-10 against Air Force and Army since 2016. Winning those games, especially the Army rivalry, mean a lot. Niumatalolo and the Midshipmen simply haven’t gotten the job done and have won just 11 games since 2020.

Still, when you think of Navy football, you think of Ken Niumatalolo. This is definitely a major shakeup in Annapolis.

Navy Midshipmen head coach Ken Niumatalolo fired after another disappointing season. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Now, will Navy have the guts to hire a guy who doesn’t run the triple option? That would be fascinating to see.

Written by David Hookstead

David is a college football fanatic who foolishly convinces himself every season the Wisconsin Badgers will finally win a national title. Has been pretending to be a cowboy ever since the first episode of Yellowstone aired.

6 Comments

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  1. “Now, will Navy have the guts to hire a guy who doesn’t run the triple option? That would be fascinating to see…..”. ??????????

    There you go again “fan boy”. Spewing the inane blather of fan boys everywhere. Both Niumatalolo and his predecessor Paul Johnson were quite successful with the triple option. considering the recruiting issues they deal with. Both Air Force and Army run similar versions of that sophisticated offense for the same reason Navy does … it is difficult for mainstream programs to prepare for … and gives “the academies” a sorely needed advantage … since they can’t recruit 320 lbs o-lines and the skill positions required for RPO and other pass-centric offenses. ………. but “message board monkeys” wouldn’t understand that.

  2. It actually takes guts to hire a Flexbone option coach because too many fan boys think somehow starting your offense six or seven yards deeps looks cooler. Option offense has a great history in college football. Unfortunately AD’s are more worried about fan perception than the reality of their situation. Hundreds of NCAA teams run the “spread” offense, beside the top teams how is that working for them? I would love to see more diversity in College offenses. Long live the triple option (under center).

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