With over a decade under his belt leading the Midshipmen to new heights, Navy had a disappointing season in 2018, going just 3-10 and finishing with the worst record Ken Niumatalolo's tenure. It marked just his second losing campaign since taking over his first full-season in 2008.
An article in the Capital Gazette points out that while that 3-10 season isn't what anyone had in mind, it may be the type of fuel needed for some major changes and updates to the support of the Navy program, which is something Ken has been pounding the table for since taking over the program over a decade ago. Unfortunately, Niumatalolo believes in part because of the success they've been able to have despite the support, his words have fallen on deaf ears over the years.
...and don't even think bringing up the concern that providing something to the football team that isn't being given to another program or the rest of the student body as part of your argument against what Niumatalolo is advocating for.
From the Capital Gazette:
"Not everybody can get what football gets. That’s just the truth. I don’t want to hear that so and so is not getting Muscle Milk. My response is that so and so is not playing Notre Dame,” Niumatalolo added. “We can’t worry about distributing things evenly. Those are the kinds of battles that I’ve been fighting behind the scenes for 12 years that nobody knows about. I think we’ve been winning for so long there has been this feeling that football will be okay.”
While things seem to be moving in a positive direction with the completion of a $20 million facility set to be done this fall, Niumatalolo isn't shy about what should happen if Navy isn't willing to step up and make the needed changes, and points to rival Army as an example of what happens when you're willing to invest in the program.
“If we’re not willing to make those sacrifices, if people are too concerned or don’t want to do that, then I’m cool with that and let’s just go into the Patriot League."
"Army wasn’t concerned. They were tired of losing and did everything it took to turn things around. That’s kind of where we’re at now.”
The American Athletic Conference is the pearl of the Group of Five, with teams like Memphis, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston proving that they can go toe-to-toe with elite Power Five competition at different points over the past several seasons. If Navy wants to rebound after their disappointing 2018 season, they'll have to be willing to do what Niumatalolo has been asking for.
If not, Niumatalolo will continue to field the type of interest he has had over the last several seasons after strong finishes by the Midshipmen, including that interesting situation that played out while he was in the mix for the head coaching job at Arizona.
Head here to see more unfiltered thoughts from Niumatalolo via the Capital Gazette piece.