The most public coaching search in recent memory has come to a close, as Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo will reject BYU’s overtures to remain at Navy.
Niumatalolo is 67-37 as the Midshipmen’s head coach, and fresh off one of his most successful campaigns – a 10-2 romp that saw Navy reach the national polls and come within one win of playing for the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship.
Two factors pulled Niumataolo’s interest westward: family and faith. His older son Va’a is a sophomore linebacker for BYU, and his younger son Ali’i committed to Boise State earlier this fall. Additionally, Niumatalolo is Mormon, and the chance to coach the national university of the Mormon church was an opportunity the coach said he had to consider.
“I love the Naval Academy. I love what it stands for,” he told ESPN last week. “But when this one opened up, it’s different. It is just different for me. My faith is everything to me. This is the only reason that I feel like I need to listen to what they have to offer.”
But the two sides could not come to a deal — Niumatalolo’s long history with the triple option reportedly did not mesh with BYU’s tradition of throwing the ball — and now Niumatalolo will return to Navy in search of the program’s record-breaking 11th win in the Military Bowl against Pittsburgh (2:30 p.m. ET, Dec. 28 on ESPN).
As for BYU? The Cougars are reportedly targeting Oregon State defensive coordinator and former BYU fullback Kalani Sitake.