San Jose State to hire Ken Niumatalolo: All-time winningest Navy coach poised to take over Spartans program

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San Jose State is hiring former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo to a five-year deal that’s set to run through the 2028 season, according to ESPN. Niumatalolo will replace Brent Brennan, who accepted the Arizona job this amid a wave of job openings stemming from Nick Saban’s retirement at Alabama. 

Niumatalolo recently accepted the tight ends coach job at UCLA after he spent the 2023 season in a support staff role with the coach Chip Kelly and the Bruins. He will bring ample head-coaching experience to SJSU after a 15-year run with Navy from 2007-22 during which he compiled a 109-83 record. Niumatalolo is Navy’s all-time wins leader, led the program to six bowl victories and posted a 10-5 record vs. Army.

What Niumatalolo will not be bringing with him to San Jose State, however, will be the triple-option offensive scheme that wreaked havoc on opposing defenses as he led the Midshipmen to relevance. According to ESPN, Niumatalolo is currently targeting an offensive coordinator who will install more of a wide-open offense with emphasis on the pass. 

Though largely successful during his tenure, Navy took a downturn under Niumatalolo amid the sport’s changing landscape. The Midshipmen limped to an 11-23 record during his final three seasons after going 11-2 in 2019. Precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic left Navy ill-prepared in 2020, and Niumatalolo struggled to find a winning formula for a program with stringent admissions standards in the transfer portal era.

No such challenges will await him at San Jose State, a program which has earned bowl game berths in…


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