Thanks to a consistent coaching staff, Ken Niumatalolo and the Navy Football Program have enjoyed a lot of success over the past several seasons.
Since taking over as head football coach at the Naval Academy, Ken Niumatalolo has won more games than any coach in the school’s history. He has compiled a record of 57-35 in seven seasons and is the first coach in Navy history to begin his career 7-0 against the Academy’s chief rival, Army. It has not been easy, and it will not get any easier as the Midshipmen join the American Athletic Conference this season. One key element has helped Niumatalolo and the Navy football program achieve success – the coaching staff.
Of his 14-member staff, 10 of Niumatalolo’s assistants have been with the Navy program for at least seven seasons. Six coaches have been in Annapolis for 12 seasons or more. Niumatalolo himself has been with the program for 17 years, serving as an assistant under Paul Johnson (now at Georgia Tech) before becoming the head man.
The continuity in the coaching staff has helped the Midshipmen produce at least eight wins in six of Niumatalolo’s seven seasons. The only losing season of the head coach’s career came in 2011 when Navy went 5-7.
It is well-known that Navy is one of the few FBS schools that runs the triple option offense. The offensive staff is led by coordinator Ivin Jasper, who has served at the Naval Academy for 16 years. This is Jasper’s eighth season running the offense and, because of the complexities of the spread option offense, the continuity of players dealing with the same coaches year after year pays huge dividends.
Year in and year out, the Midshipmen rank as one of the best rushing offenses in the country. Last year, Navy ranked second averaging 338.1 yards per game. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds led the team with 1,191 yards and 23 touchdowns. The senior will have a chance to become the NCAA’s career all-time touchdowns leader. Reynolds currently has 64 careers rushing TDs, the most ever by a quarterback and just 13 behind all-time leader Montee Ball.
The same continuity exists with the Navy defensive staff. Buddy Green has been at Navy for 13 years, all as the defensive coordinator. He will serve as a consultant this season while he recovers from neck surgery. The Middies will not miss a beat as Dale Pehrson, a 20-year veteran at the Academy, takes over as defensive coordinator. Pehrson and Green were together for 13 seasons and Pehrson filled in for his mentor once before back in 2011.
Navy is an early favorite in the AAC along with Memphis, Cincinnati, Central Florida, and Houston. Should Navy have success in their new league, it will be in large part due to the culture of winning established by the school’s outstanding coaching staff.