Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo has been offered the Arizona Wildcats’ head coaching job, Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star reported Friday.
However, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg later refuted that report, saying no offers have been made nor have negotiations started with any candidates:
Arizona has not offered its head-coaching position to any candidates, nor have any negotiations started, according to a source close to the search process. Candidate interviews are still taking place. These things can move quickly but nothing is done,... https://t.co/Pb4eh3e8ea— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 12, 2018
Earlier in the day, Rittenberg reported Niumatalolo was a “strong candidate” at Arizona, while FootballScoop reported the two parties were negotiating a deal with one source telling them, “unless they mess this up, Kenny is going to Arizona.”
Niumatalolo has complied a 84-48 record in 10 seasons as the head coach at Navy.
The 52-year-old Hawaiian is a two-time American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year (2015, 2016) and has led Navy to two double-digit win seasons (2009, 2015).
Niumatalolo runs the triple option at Navy and is a disciple of both Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson and former UA coach Dick Tomey who both run/ran the option.
It’s unclear if Niumatalolo will run that offense at Arizona if he gets the job, but most believe he will adapt his philosophy to better fit UA’s personnel like star quarterback Khalil Tate (who tweeted, then deleted that he “didn’t come to Arizona to run the triple option”).
The service academies — Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. — run the triple option because of their lack of size on the offensive line.
Arizona ran the option at times under Tomey, but only one Power Five school (Georgia Tech) runs it today.
Niumatalolo has been at Navy since 2002 and became the head coach in 2007.
He has turned away job offers before.
A member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Niumatalolo chose to not to take the BYU job in December 2015, which some thought was because the school wanted him to run a different offense.
Niumatalolo played quarterback at Hawaii from 1987-89. Here is his full coaching history:
- 1990-94 — Hawaii (GA)
- 1995-96 — Navy (RB)
- 1997-98 — Navy (OC/QB)
- 1999-2001 — UNLV (TE/ST)
- 2002-07 — (AHC/OL)
- 2007-present — Navy (HC)
This story will be updated
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire