Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo surprised by sudden shot: 'I thought we were representing something different'

Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo surprised by sudden shot: ‘I thought we were representing something different’

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk wasted no time on Saturday afternoon.

According to former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, Gladchuk fired him just minutes after losing 20-17 in double overtime to the Philadelphia Army while he sat alone at his locker room.

“First of all, we just got kicked in the gut,” Niumatalolo told ESPN’s Heather Dinich. “I was a little numb before he said that, so I couldn’t understand most of it. I was just like, ‘Chet, why don’t you take some time to relax. He said, ‘Well, it’s been piling up.'”

The Navy announced on Sunday that it fired Niumatalolo after 15 seasons. Niumatalolo finished with a 109-83 record with the Navy, which made him the winningest coach in program history. The Prospects finished the 2022 season with a 4-8 record, and they’ve gone a combined 11-23 over the past three seasons.

Niumatalolo was an assistant in the Navy from 2002 to 2007 before being promoted to the top job.

“It was a great race, but I wasn’t ready for it to end,” Niumatalolo said, via Capital Gazette. “I’m still healthy, I’m still strong, I wanted to finish this, but Chet had other plans.”

Navy AD: Our expectations were clear

Gladchuk said on Monday his expectations for the football program were extremely clear.

He wants the program to achieve a bowl game each season, and he wants the team to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy given to the team that wins the series played between the three service academies. The Midshipmen have gone 2-5 against the Army and Air Force over the past seven years.

Those goals, Gladchuk said, have been the same for decades.

“That’s been the constant bar that we’re looking for is to hit those two targets, which I think are very realistic, very reasonable, and which have been consistent for 20 years and so that’s no surprise.” , Gladchuk said. . “It’s just an expectation that unfortunately didn’t live up to it.”

“Without a doubt,” Gladchuk said on Monday, Niumatalolo knew those were his expectations.

“I spoke directly to his reps who asked me exactly that question,” Gladchuk said. “I passed it on to them and I passed it on as I mentioned for 20 years to the head coach… There is no confusion about the expectations. And I think they are realistic They’re reasonable. They’re expected. They have resources, at a minimum, for that. I can’t be any clearer.”

Niumatalolo said he asked Gladchuk to just let him finish his contract instead of firing him now. Niumatalolo had just one year left on his contract, and Navy is expected to return 22 starters next season — who will play in a different AAC with Cincinnati, Houston and UCF all starting for the Big 12.

Still, Gladchuk apparently couldn’t be swayed, even with the promise that Niumatalolo would step down if he failed.

“And if we lose next year, don’t worry about firing me. I will resign,” Niumatalolo told Gladchuk, via ESPN. “You don’t have to pay me a penny. I’m not looking for a raise, I’m not looking for anything.

“I just want to finish my contract. We are finally coming out of the pandemic. I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed. I thought we were standing for something different.”

Niumatalolo said he also didn’t think he was treated fairly compared to other academies. The Navy facilities weren’t great, for one thing. The team had to share indoor facilities and sometimes train outdoors in bad weather, he said. Aspirants must also graduate in four years, which means the team can’t have players with a fifth or sixth year of eligibility like other programs do.

Either way, the navy is moving forward.

“I’m a competitor,” Niumatalolo said, via ESPN. “It’s hard for me to think that we had the ball over the six-inch line, and it’s my last game. It’s hard to understand. If we win, he doesn’t kick me out. How do you turn- you a guy after winning the army -navy game?

Midshipmen Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo was fired after the midshipmen fell to the army last weekend. He is the winningest head coach in the program. (Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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