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Navy has fired football coach Ken Niumatalolo.
“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.
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.
Now, will Navy have the guts to hire a guy who doesn’t run the triple option? That would be fascinating to see.