One of the most successful coaching tenures at the Naval Academy has come to an end.
Navy announced on Sunday that it has parted ways with head football coach Ken Niumatalolo after 15 full seasons leading the program. Niumatalolo posted a 109-83 record with the Midshipmen, etching himself as the winningest head coach in program history. the move came just one day after Navy fell to arch rival Army in a 20-17 double overtime loss.
Whoa. Navy just announced HC Ken Niumatalolo will not return for 2023. DC Brian Newberry named interim HC. pic.twitter.com/s2eHwWS1Kf— Kareem Copeland (@kareemcopeland) December 11, 2022
Serving as an offensive line coach/assistant head coach under Paul Johnson at Navy, Niumatalolo assumed head coaching duties in Annapolis, MD, following Johnson’s departure to Georgia Tech in 2008. What followed was a string of successful seasons as he took the service academy to 10 bowl games in his first 12 seasons.
He helped transition the Midshipmen into the newly formed American Athletic Conference and produced all-time great triple-option quarterbacks like Keenan Reynolds and Malcolm Perry. Most importantly, he helped continue Navy’s run of dominance over rival Army, extending the winning streak to a record 14 games before the Black Knights finally snapped it in 2016.
However, cracks began to form in the latter stages of his tenure as the team couldn’t overcome the massive talent gap against AAC competition most years. Niumatalolo began to butt heads with athletic director Chet Gladchuk and the biggest controversy came when the AD fired offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper early in the 2021 season over Niu’s head, only to reinstate him immediately afterwards. It was speculated that his tenure could come to an end with a loss Army this year and that turned out to be true.
That now leaves the question of where Navy will turn to next. The program is almost exclusively an option based program and will most likely be looking at that specifically option-based coaching candidates. Kennesaw State head coach Brian Bohannon was a wide receiver coach at Navy from 2002-2007 and would be a prime candidate for the job.