Navy's Ken Niumatalolo arrives in Utah to talk about BYU coaching job

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SALT LAKE CITY — Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo arrived in Utah on Sunday night before a scheduled appointment with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe about the Cougars' head football coach opening.

Niumatalolo arrived at Salt Lake International Airport with his wife Barbara on Sunday night, wearing a sweatshirt with "Navy" emblazoned across the chest, less than 24 hours after leading the Midshipmen to their 14th-straight win over rival Army, 21-17 in Philadelphia.

The 18th-year Navy coach will tour BYU's football facilities Monday and is scheduled to speak with administrators in the athletic department and university during his time in Provo. Niumatalolo confirmed he hasn't had any discussions with BYU prior to arriving in Provo.

"I don't have any comment, but it's good to be here," Niumatalolo told a handful of assembled media after exiting baggage claim at the airport.

Niumatalolo was emotional in speaking to the media following the Midshipmen's win Saturday evening, but did not say whether a decision had been reached regarding potential employment at BYU.

"This isn't about me; I love these kids," Niumatalolo told the Mid-Atlantic media following the game. "I had some other opportunities and wasn't interested much in them. This one is different. It's just who I am; it's my faith.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and his wife Barbara arrived at the airport in Salt Lake City, Dec. 13, 2015. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and his wife Barbara arrived at the airport in Salt Lake City, Dec. 13, 2015. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

"It has nothing to do with the Naval Academy or (Navy athletic director) Chet Gladchuk. These players have been phenomenal. I've come to work for 18 years loving my job — I love to come to work. I've been here for 18 years, and it's been my life. My kids have grown up here, and I've given everything for this program."

Niumatalolo's son Va'a plays linebacker for the Cougars, and another son Ali'i has committed to Boise State after he serves a two-year LDS Church mission. The 6-foot-2, 229-pound sophomore Va'a played in three games in 2015, accumulating four tackles and one sack.

BYU did not comment on the upcoming interview, and the athletic department has not scheduled any media opportunities in Provo because of finals week. The Cougars will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday in preparation for the weekend's Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against rival Utah, and will practice at UNLV beginning Wednesday.

In the mean time, players will focus on finishing up finals week — and Holmoe will perform all due diligence in finding the next head coach following Bronco Mendenhall's sudden departure to fill the same position at the University of Virginia after Saturday's game.


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