Navy 2014 Football Review: Coaching

GoMids.com offers our review of the Navy 2014 football season. GoMids.com’s Jim Lawler discusses each position of the team and assigns a final grade. In this segment we discuss the coaching staff.

COACHING: A

Navy's Ken Niumatalolo (57-35, 62%) passed George Welch as Navy's winningest head coach with his victory over Army. He has succeeded after following a great coach, in his mentor Paul Johnson, and has established his own legacy. Niumatalolo is now 7-0 all-time against Army and is the first head coach in the history of the Army-Navy rivalry to win his first seven games against the other service academy. Niumatalolo is the fastest in school history to reach 50 wins.

Niumatalolo, after a very disappointing 2-4 start including a bitter loss to Air Force, was able to get the ship righted. After last year's nine win season, with so many returning starters, so much more was expected. The Mids have completed but have struggled with injuries, fumbles and didn't make the plays late in games during the first half of the season. While fumbles remained an issue, things changed in second half of the season as the Mids closed winning six of their last seven games. He may have stayed too long with struggling field goal kicker Nick Sloan but the move to Austin Grebe who was perfect the rest of the way worked out. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has been a huge part of the Navy turnaround. Ken has been on the Mids’ sidelines either as an assistant or head coach for 17 of the last 20 years. Not only has Niumatalolo done an outstanding job both coaching and recruiting but it’s clear he loves Annapolis and the mission of the academy. This season was filled with struggles and adversity but once again he produced eight wins, a win over Army and a bowl victory. When Paul Johnson was head coach it was obvious that it was only a matter of line before a major football program offered him a job and he would leave. With Niumatalolo it seems like he is a lifer who loves being Navy's head coach and this is his dream job. All Navy football fans hope that is the case.

Ivin Jasper, Navy's offensive coordinator, had his offense really clicking when it was averaging 45 points per game during a five game stretch to become bowl eligible. He had some uncharacteristically rough games early in the year calling too many pass plays especially late against Rutgers and versus Air Force as the Mids couldn't protect Reynolds. Navy's wasn't that sharp the last two games as it averaged just 17 points per game against Army and San Diego State.

Buddy Green's defensive unit was solid but allowed 27.3 points per game and some big pass plays over the top of the defense that the Mids usually avoid. Green's defense played it best football at the end of the year as it won the last two games while the offense sputtered. He deserves credit for inserting heady senior George Jamison into the starting lineup the last four games as the Mids won every game and allowed just 15 points per game in three of the contests.

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