Jeff Monken was introduced as Army's 37th head football coach on Monday, and day one promised to be the end of an era that's seen the Black Knights suffer 17 losing seasons in the last 18 years.
"We're going to work through this process in the coming days and weeks to put together a program that our Army is going to be proud of. Our Army deserves the best, and we're going to give them that."
Monken expressed pride and gratitude to be the head coach not just at West Point, but for West Point. He pledged to find players who felt the same pride and gratitude he did.
"We're not going to masquerade about who we are. There will be very few Saturdays when we are bigger, faster, more athletic collectively than the teams that we play, but we always believed that it didn't take the best players to win, it takes the best team to win. We're going to field the best team," said Monken. "We're going to be tough, we're going to be disciplined, we're going to play with pride, with passion, with great effort, and we're going to field a team that everybody's going to be proud of to say that's our team, that's Army's football team. That's the kind of team I want to represent a Jeff Monken football team. When someone watches an Army football game, I want them to turn the TV off and say, 'I've never seen a team play like that before. I've never seen a guy play so hard, play with such great passion and effort and energy.' That'll be our football team.
"That doesn't guarantee victory but without that, we're not going to have a chance. I can assure you we'll have that, and we'll play with those characteristics and that's going to give us a chance to win every single time we play."
The good and bad news for Monken is that Army has never lacked for passion, effort and energy. That's a given when any cadet agrees to use what precious free moments he has at West Point and pours them into playing football. Army needs talent and development, and Monken's job is to import that.
From the highest level of the United States Military Academy down to every soldier scattered throughout the globe, Army is ready to win, and win now. More specifically, it's ready to beat Navy. The Black Knights are all-in on the triple-option offense, and they've tabbed the current master of the option. Monken went 38-16 in four seasons at Georgia Southern, and his Eagles rushed for 360 yards per game this fall, 25 more than any other Division I program.
Monken said his offense would be a replica of what he learned under Paul Johnson and Navy and Georgia Tech.
"Paul was the master of running the same plays out of different formations and coupling play-action passes along with those actions and angles to have an incredibly successful offense," Monken said. "We've added in the last three years a group of plays out of the shotgun and we really felt like, over the years, there were just times when defenses would stymie us under center and we needed to have something to go to that would give us some different angles and actions."
"We've got 4,400 cadets here that we're going to send out as military officers and when they go out and do their work, we don't expect them to come in second place," Monken said. "That's not going to be an option around here, either."
Monken closed his opening address the only way a new Army head coach can close his opening address, with "Beat Navy." It's been 4,413 days since Army did just that. His first chance comes 348 short days from today.