A couple of days after it was first reported, and following some initial uncertainty, Army does indeed have its new coach.
The service academy announced late Tuesday morning that Jeff Monken has been hired as the Black Knights’ head coach. Monken comes to West Point from Georgia Southern.
Monken replaces Rich Ellerson, who was fired a little over a week ago after five seasons.
“I am thrilled to accept the head coaching position at West Point,” said Monken in a statement. “Not only is the United States Military Academy one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world, it boasts one of the nation’s richest, most historic traditions in all of college football. I am anxious to get started…meet our players, put our coaching staff in place, and begin preparations for the 2014 football season.
“There are so many people I would like to thank for this tremendous opportunity, starting with Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan and our Superintendent, Gen. Bob Caslen. I am honored and humbled by their trust in me to lead the West Point football program. I have had the privilege of serving as a coach for several outstanding institutions and am thankful to all of the student-athletes, coaches, and administrators with whom I have worked. Because of their commitment, dedication, and loyalty, this opportunity to serve at West Point has been afforded to me. More than anyone else, I want to thank the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation in the United States Army. I am proud to be your head football coach.”
Monken, a cousin of Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken, has spent the past four seasons at Georgia Southern, leading the Eagles into the FCS playoffs his first three years with the program. He has a connection to service academies as well, serving as an assistant at rival Navy from 2002-07.
In November of this year, Monken’s Eagles went into Gainesville and embarrassed Florida in a 26-20 win. It was the first time in the 100-plus-year history of the program that Gators had lost to a team from the FCS level, and the Eagles accomplished that feat without attempting a single pass.
Monken will be officially introduced at an 11 a.m. ET press conference next Monday.
“There was tremendous interest in the position nationally and we felt there were several very qualified candidates, but throughout the process Jeff separated himself from the others,” Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said. “His passion, energy and strong experience in turning around a program immediately helped him rise to the top of our list.”
“We want a successful head coach who understands the challenges of working at a service academy, one who could help us win immediately and one who understands the importance of West Point’s mission. We found that in Jeff. Jeff has been highly successful at every stop he has made both on the field and off. We expect him to experience that same level of success at West Point. We could not be more excited to have Jeff , his wife Beth, and their three daughters join the West Point family and lead our football program.”