Dec. 8, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md.-Longtime Navy assistant head coach Ken Niumatalolo has been promoted to head football coach at the Naval Academy it was announced Saturday by Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. Niumatalolo, age 42, is the 38th head football coach in Naval Academy history and is believed to be the first Polynesian head coach in NCAA history.
"I have observed our program over the past six years and I attribute a large part of our success to the invaluable role Ken has played as the assistant head coach," said Gladchuk. "A consummate professional and unquestioned role model for our players, he has led on many fronts with impeccable loyalty and character. Ken brings us quality continuity with the highest level of expertise in the triple option. Our staff is extremely excited about the promotion and are anxious to support our new head coach in a manner that will continue to reinforce our "Expect to Win" attitude at Navy."
"It's an honor and a privilege to be named head football coach at the Naval Academy," said Niumatalolo. "I would like to thank Adm. Fowler and Mr. Gladchuk for supporting me and I am excited about the future of the Navy football program. I am in the process of putting together a coaching staff that will give us a every opportunity to continue the winning tradition at the Naval Academy."
Niumatalolo has had two coaching stints at the Naval Academy for a combined 10 seasons, including the last six where he has served as assistant head coach and offensive line coach.
Niumatalolo has been an integral part of a staff that has brought the Midshipmen back into the national spotlight with a 43-19 (.689) record over the last five years and has helped lead Navy to a school-record five-straight bowl games and five-consecutive Commander-In-Chief's Trophies.
Niumatalolo's work with the offense has helped the Mids lead the nation in rushing in four of the last five years, including each of the past three seasons, a first in NCAA history. Navy is averaging a school-record 351.5 yards per game on the ground entering the Mids Dec. 20 Poinsettia Bowl game against Utah.
In 2006, Navy averaged a then school-record 327.0 yards per contest. One of Niumatalolo's pupils, Antron Harper, was named to the ESPN.Com All-Bowl Team for the second-straight year as the Mids played in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Boston College.
In 2005, Niumatalolo helped develop an offensive line that, despite having just one returning starter, paved the way for the nation's best rushing offense (318.7 yards per contest) as Navy went to a bowl game for a third-straight year, won a second-straight bowl game and won the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy.
In 2004, Niumatalolo's efforts helped an offensive line that was hampered by injuries all year to perform well enough for the Midshipmen to finish third in the country in rushing (289.5), win a school-record tying 10 games (the most wins since 1905), go to back-to-back bowl games for the second time in school history, win the Emerald Bowl and win the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy.
Navy's offensive line was instrumental in the NCAA-record 26-play, 94-yard, 14:26 epic drive in the 2004 Emerald Bowl. Offensive guard August Roitsch was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Bowl Team, while the entire starting offensive line was selected to the College Football News All-Bowl Team.
In 2003, despite a lack of experience up front, the Mids led the nation in rushing (323.2 yards per contest) and set seven school records as Navy went 8-5, won the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy and earned a berth in the Houston Bowl.
In 2002, the Navy offensive line helped the Mids to the third-best rushing average in the country (270.75).
Niumatalolo was also an assistant at Navy from 1995-98, serving as the offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998.
As the offensive coordinator, Niumatalolo tutored Chris McCoy, who set the then-NCAA record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season with 20 in 1997 and became just the 10th player in NCAA history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and pass for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. In addition, Navy finished among the nation's top five in rushing his last-two years and broke 38 school offensive records during his tenure.
Niumatalolo coached at UNLV for three seasons (1999-01) where he coordinated the option game for the Rebels and called the plays. He also worked with the kickoff return unit and under his guidance, UNLV ranked sixth in the nation in kickoff returns in 2001 and finished second in 1999.
A 1989 graduate of Hawai'i, Niumatalolo lettered three years as a quarterback and led the Rainbows to their first postseason bowl appearance in 1989. He was hired as a full-time assistant by his alma mater in 1992 and spent three seasons coaching on the offensive side of the ball.
A native of Laie', Hawai'i, Niumatalolo and his wife, Barbara, have three children, Alexcia (17), who attends Maryland and is a freshman on the women's lacrosse team, Va'a (14) and Ali'i (8).
A Closer Look At Ken Niumatalolo
Assistant Head Coach
May 8, 1965
Hawai'i, B.S., '89