Longtime College Football Head Coach Leaving Team After 15 Seasons

A longtime college football head coach is moving on. On Sunday, the Naval Academy announced that Ken Niumatalolo will not return for the 2023 season. He leaves the school as the winningest coach in program history with a 109-83 record in 15 seasons. Defensive coordinator Brian Newberry has been named interim head coach. 

"Our sincerest gratitude to Coach Ken for what has been a distinguished and impactful legacy at the Naval Academy," Navy athletic director Gladchuk.  "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."  

Niumatalolo, 57, became head coach of the Navy Midshipmen football team in 2007 but was an assistant coach for the school from 1995-1998 and 2002-2007. In his career as a head coach, Niumatalolo won the American Athletic Conference (AAC) three times (2015, 2016. 2019) and is a three-time winner of the AAC Coach of the Year award. He led Navy to two 11-2 seasons and 11 bowl appearances. But the last three seasons have been challenging for Niumatalolo as Navy went 3-7 in 2020 and 4-8 in 2021 and 2022. On Saturday, Navy lost to Army 20-17 in the first overtime game of the 123-year series. 

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In an interview with What's Up Media in August, Niumatalolo was asked if he wanted to retire at Navy. "I would," he said. "Because of the success of our program, I have had opportunities to look at other schools. The money in college football is very lucrative. The Power 5 schools are very enticing. I have talked to quite a few schools over the years. I have gone, then come back and realize that I have a great job. I love Annapolis. I have raised my family here. This is home. I have been here 25 years. I love what the Naval Academy stands for. I love their mission. I feel it fits with my personality. I feel I give back. I definitely don't see myself going anywhere." Niumatalolo also spent time as an assistant coach at Hawaii (1990-1994) and UNLV (1999-2001). He played college football at Hawaii from 1987 to 1989 and was the team's quarterback.