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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Navy coach Niumatalolo set to take on Army

This time last year, Navy (7-4) - fresh off a sixth straight victory over Army (3-8) in the mother of all rivalry games - didn't even have a head coach.

Ken Niumatalolo, the first Samoan college football coach, was hired 6 days after the victory when Paul Johnson left to coach at Georgia Tech. His first game as leader of the Midshipmen was a 35-32 loss in the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl.

So what does Niumatalolo expect in his first test against Army as a head coach?

"It is very exciting," Niumatalolo said. "I think being here these past 10 games has allowed me to find out what this game is all about as a head coach.

"This is just a great game for our country. It is a great sporting event . . . I am just thrilled to be a part of it."

For Niumatalolo, the fact that Navy has won the previous six games makes little difference.

"We try to not even talk about the series and who has won and lost," he said. "What happened last year or in the past 6 years has no bearing whatsoever. This 2008 game is all that matters."

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