Ken Niumatalolo Named San Jose State Head Coach

    The San Jose State Spartans have found their replacement at head coach with former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo taking over the program.

    Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has been named San Jose State head coach after much speculation that he was going to get the job. Niumatalolo is taking over for Brent Brennan after he left the Spartans to take the Arizona coaching job.

    Ken Niumatalolo’s Long Coaching Career Lands Him with San Jose State

    Niumatalolo has not been a head coach since 2022, as he spent last season with UCLA on Chip Kelly’s coaching staff. He initially was named the Director of Leadership for the Bruins in 2023. Going into the 2024 season, Niumatalolo was originally going to be UCLA’s tight ends coach before the San Jose State head coaching job came into the picture.

    The school Niumatalolo is most known for coaching is Navy. He was the program’s head coach for 15 seasons. He had one of the most successful runs in school history, leading the school to 10 winning seasons and three AAC West Division titles. Niumatalolo was AAC Coach of the Year three times.

    MORE: Brent Brennan Hired By Arizona

    Navy originally named him interim head coach in 2007 when he coached the team in the Poinsettia Bowl where they lost to the Brian Johnson-led Utah Utes. Niumatalolo took the head coaching job permanently starting in the 2008 season. The school would have a winning record in six of the first seven seasons as an independent.

    In 2015, Niumatalolo led the program to a new era of Midshipmen football, as they joined the AAC. They won the West Division title three times in the first five years of conference play. Navy had the best seasons under Niumatalolo in 2015 and 2019 when they went 11-2 and won a bowl game in both years.

    The last three seasons with the Midshipmen did not go according to plan. The team went 11-23, recording losing records in each of those three years. Navy decided to not retain him after the 2022 season.

    He finished his Navy career with a 109-83 overall record and 6-5 in bowl games. Niumatalolo is widely regarded as one of the best coaches in school history.

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    Before becoming a head coach, Niumatalolo was the assistant head coach and offensive line coach for the Midshipmen from 2002 through 2007. He had one other stint with Navy in 1997 and 1998 as their offensive coordinator. Niumatalolo was an assistant coach for UNLV and Hawaii, too.

    With San Jose State, Niumatalolo takes over a program that has had winning seasons in three of the last four seasons under Brennan. Turnover is expected on the coaching staff and roster, but Niumatalolo is a proven winner who can take the Spartans to the next level in the Mountain West Conference.

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