BYU's administration is strongly considering Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo to replace outgoing head coach Bronco Mendenhall, sources within the coaching profession told FootballScoop this week.
The attraction between BYU and Niumatalolo is both mutual and obvious. Niumatalolo is Mormon, making him one of the few qualified candidates able to fulfill the requirement BYU places on its head football coach. Niumatalolo's testimony was one of six featured in the documentary "Meet the Mormons," a 2014 film produced by the LDS church. Moreover, Niumatalolo is an important figure in the Pacific Islander football community, a key recruiting base for BYU.
Niumatalolo stands at 66-37 in nearly eight complete seasons at Navy, missing a bowl game only once and leading this year's club to a 9-2 record and a No. 21 ranking in the final College Football Playoff poll.
Given the importance of Saturday's Army-Navy game, it is hard to think that Niumatalolo would give the opportunity substantial thought until after taking care of business. Niumatalolo carries a perfect 7-0 record against the Midshipmen's arch-rival, and nothing will detract from his attempt to secure a 14th straight overall victory over the Black Knights.
After the game though, sources expect Niumatalolo to have a decision to make. We would certainly expect the Naval Academy to attempt to persuade Niumatalolo to stay but this opportunity might be one that Niumatalolo simply can't pass up.
In some coaching searches, five days can feel like an eternity. If a match between BYU and Niumatalolo were to fall through, we're told Cougars offensive coordinator Robert Anae is viewed by BYU's administration as a legitimate candidate and additional external candidates would be considered we're told.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.