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Army head coach attended Navy player’s funeral

Jeff Monken AP

While some college football rivalries can get heated on the field — and in the stands and tailgates and amongst certain trees — there’s generally a great deal of respect on both sides off if it.

The latest example of that comes in the midst of a true tragedy.

The weekend before last, Navy running back Will McKamey collapsed during a practice session and lapsed into a coma following brain surgery. Sadly, the 19-year-old Midshipman never awoke from the coma and passed away last Tuesday.

Monday, McKamey was laid to rest in his home state if Tennessee. One of the mourners who came to pay their respects to the family? Army head coach Jeff Monken.

In a statement, the first-year coach explained his decision and how the historic Army-Navy rivalry simply doesn’t matter in a time like this.

“It’s more than just a rivalry on the field. There’s something beyond that. I really felt it was important that our academy and our football team was represented there. We were all just amazed at how remarkably strong his parents were and what a great example of leadership they were for their other children and for all the people that were there. It was great to be there and be around their players and coaches and be there together with the same sense of spirit to support his family and their loss.”

The Navy football program returned to the practice field Tuesday for the first time since McKamey collapsed March 22.  That came a day after more than  80 players and coaches attended McKamey’s funeral.

Navy had missed a total of four spring practice sessions. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo said those sessions won’t be made up as it was and is far more important for his team to have time to heal.

“t’s been tough on us, but it’s really been tough on the [McKamey] family,” Niumatalolo said following yesterday’s practice. “Last week we took some time off to mourn. There’s nothing that prepares you for that. …

“I thought it was most important … for our team to heal. It’s obviously still ongoing. There are things way more important than football, things way more important than spring ball.

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6 Responses to “Army head coach attended Navy player’s funeral”
  1. mogogo1 says: Apr 2, 2014 6:20 PM

    Classy move.

  2. dhardy8207 says: Apr 2, 2014 6:33 PM

    What a great example of sportsmanship and humanity.. Afterall when these young men are called to war, they have to fight for the same goal, protecting the same country.

    Kudos to the army coach. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young man and the university….

  3. suprmous says: Apr 2, 2014 11:03 PM

    AMEN!! Need to have more fans to be like this classy guy. dhardy, glad to see you over here. Thoughts, prayers, and lots of love go out to the families both from home and his Navy Brotherhood along with friends. May they all find Peace Love and Understanding thru the One who gives us this unconditionally.

  4. eugenesaxe1 says: Apr 2, 2014 11:43 PM

    Very nice.

  5. germanflats13a38 says: Apr 3, 2014 9:16 AM


  6. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: Apr 3, 2014 11:04 AM

    Classy coach! Honor, Courage, Commitment!

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