Can Navy Hold onto its Coaching Staff?

It's almost December and for the first time since Paul Johnson left for Georgia Tech, Navy fans have a legitimate reason to be concerned about AD Chet Gladchuk's ability to keep the coaching staff together for another season. What are the chances they all stick around for 2011 and beyond? I'll break down the three most popular candidates for you.

Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo: Odds to remain at Navy through 2011 and beyond – (2 to 1)

Why he might leave: For the same reason why his predecessor left – for the opportunity to play for a national championship. Navy will never get that chance and at some point averaging 8 wins a season could become boring for the ultra-competitive coach. Sure his success in the past two seasons has removed him a good bit from Johnson's shadow, but outperforming him in BCS land would be the ultimate vindication.

Why he might stay: It's hard to believe but Niumatalolo is only 30 wins shy of becoming the all-time wins leader for a coach at Navy. At his current pace, there is no reason to believe he couldn't accomplish that in four years. He is also very well compensated, reportedly earning over $1 million per year, which could get a nice bump up in 2011 especially if he beats Army and San Diego State. But perhaps the best reason why I think he will stay in Annapolis for awhile is because I can't think of a school that would be a good match for him. Hawaii and BYU jump out at me at two schools that Niumatalolo could definitely have some interest in, but would either really be considered a move up? And furthermore neither of those schools is in the market for a coach. I'd also rule out any cold weather destinations. So that leaves a lower-tier SEC school like Vanderbilt or Mississippi, or a mid-tier ACC school (think Maryland, Virginia, Duke or North Carolina State) as the most likely candidates to lure him away from Annapolis down the road. And call it a hunch, but I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Let's hope it is even more simple than that…like Niumatalolo is just happy in Annapolis and really has no interest in going anywhere else.  

Offensive Coordinator Ivin Jasper: Odds to remain at Navy through 2011 and beyond – (20 to 1)

Why he might leave: The most obvious reason is because Jasper himself told me that he wants to be a head coach some day. His ambition combined with the success of the Midshipmen offense make it very likely that he will not be in Annapolis too much longer. And unlike Niumatalolo there will probably be more good matches out there for Jasper because the entire FCS field is in play. If Jasper is offered a chance to follow a path similar to Jeff Monken, I think he will strongly consider it. However, I think a more likely scenario could put him in charge at a school like Florida Atlantic, Memphis or perhaps the just announced opening at Arkansas State. I also think he could take a few other Navy coaches with him if he goes. Leaving is most likely just a question of where and when for the ready for prime time offensive coordinator.

Why he might stay: Although I do not know exactly what Jasper makes a year, I do know that he got a nice incentive to stay when Johnson departed for Georgia Tech. If I was to hazard a guess, I'd say he is in the $300,000-$400,000 range which could be tough for a lot of FCS schools to match. However, I think a Sun-Belt or Conference USA school could be a good fit money and opportunity wise for Jasper. However, in Navy fans corner is the fact that Memphis is likely to give Larry Porter another year to improve on the Tigers' just completed 11-loss season…even though this article paints a pretty bleak picture after just his inaugural year. And at Florida Atlantic, there is no indication that the 76-year-old Howard Schnellenberger is looking to retire anytime soon. So maybe Jasper's phone won't ring this December but I'd keep my eyes on these two schools in particular.

Slot Back Coach Joe DuPaix: Odds to Remain at Navy through 2011 and beyond (8 to 1)

Why he might leave: DuPaix's name has already come up for two different job openings in the past three seasons. He reportedly turned down the head coaching job at Southern Utah and he immediately took his name out of the running for the Army offensive coordinator job when speculation was rampant that he might join Rich Ellerson's staff. DuPaix's name recognition alone in his home state of Utah is probably enough to keep his phone busy in the next few years with a variety of job offers. Add to his pedigree, his familiarity with option football, and I think the title ‘slot back coach' is not going to be in front of his name for much longer. He has all the makings of a head coach and the smarts to at least lead an offense.

Why he might stay: Because Jasper could very well leave before him which would put him at the top of the list to become Navy's next offensive coordinator. Of course if Niumatalolo decided to go in a different direction IF Jasper ever departs that could seal the deal and lead to DuPaix's departure as well. But now I am just getting way ahead of myself. I think the real reason why DuPaix will be in Annapolis for at least a few more years is because he and his family aren't looking to move anytime soon. Well, at least that is what he told me last year.

NOTE: I also wouldn't be surprised if offensive line coach Ashley Ingram gets some serious consideration for a head coaching job at the FCS level.  He has strong roots at two schools (Bucknell and Rhode Island) that could be in the market for a head coach in the next year or two. He also has connections in the South where any of a number of FCS schools could be interested in his talents.


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