After 15 years as Navy football coach, Ken Niumatalolo will not return

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Ken Niumatalolo : Ken Niumatalolo will not return as coach of the Navy football team next season after 15 years with the Midshipmen, declared Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk on Sunday, adding that defensive coordinator Brian Newberry has been elevated to interim coach.More UPdates Blingsnews

The shocking move comes less than 24 hours after the Midshipmen’s season ended in an excruciating 20-17 double-overtime loss to Army at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Army-Navy game was settled in overtime for the first time in its illustrious history.

Gladchuk stated in a statement, “Our heartfelt gratitude to Coach Ken for what has been a distinguished and significant legacy at the Naval Academy.” “Navy football thrived for many years under his direction.” He’ll be remembered for the impact he had on the lives of those who played for him.”

Niumatalolo has the most wins of any football coach in school history, with a 109-83 career record. His ten victories versus Army are the most of any coach on either side in the series’ 123-game history.

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Under Niumatalolo, the Midshipmen won 11 games in 2015, tied that record this year, and won 10 games in 2019. After taking over for Paul Johnson, who had left for Georgia Tech, they went 10-4 in his second full season as head coach in 2009.

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Under Niumatalolo’s leadership, Navy won the West Division Championship in each of its first two years in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). In 2019, the Midshipmen again split the division crown.

Niumatalolo tutored Keenan Reynolds from 2012 to 2015, and during that time, Reynolds amassed more passing yards than any other quarterback in the triple-option period. Reynolds scored 88 touchdowns in his career, which is a Football Bowl Subdivision record.

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However, Navy’s record over the prior three seasons reads just 11-23. With only one winning season in the last five years, the Midshipmen finished 4-10 against Army and Air Force during the span of seven seasons. They have only won the Commander-in-Trophy Chief’s once since 2016, and they have lost five of their last seven matchups against Army.

After being affected harder than most other programmes in 2020 by coronavirus regulations, Navy has suffered terribly ever since.

After 25 years of devotion to the academy, “we all have enormous respect and appreciation for his service,” Gladchuk said. The Naval Academy is “embracing a new age of renewed expectations for Navy football and our midshipmen” and has “maintained lofty objectives.”

At the end of the previous season, after a 23-3 loss to Air Force, Gladchuk abruptly sacked offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper without consulting Niumatalolo. After a meeting between Niumatalolo and Gladchuk, two days later Jasper was back on the staff as quarterbacks coach. Since then, Niumatalolo has served as the team’s de facto offensive coordinator, and the unit’s 21.9 points per game this season ranks tied for 106th in the country. The Mids’ 326.8 yards per game is good for 111th in the league. Four out of the past five years, the offence has been subpar, with 2019’s 11-2 record being the result of a record-breaking performance by quarterback Malcolm Perry.

After Midshipmen fullback Anton Hall Jr. fumbled at the goal line, Army kicker Quinn Maretzki kicked a 39-yard field goal to win the game and terminate Niumatalolo’s Navy career. Black Knights regained their footing and raced three times before trying the game-winning kick.

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