Navy is expected to promote Brian Newberry to head coach, per ESPN sources, elevating the coach who has coordinated Navy’s defense since 2019. An announcement is expected in the near future.
Newberry has authored consistent top defenses since arriving at Navy four years ago, establishing himself as an elite coordinator and program linchpin.
Newberry will replace Ken Niumatalolo, the longtime coach who finished his tenure as the winningest coach in Navy history at 109-83 in 15 full seasons. Niumatalolo told ESPN earlier this month he was fired immediately after losing to Army and finishing 4-8.
Newberry’s expected promotion shows that Navy will be sticking to some of the principles of success under Niumatalolo. Athletic director Chet Gladchuk has said publicly that Navy is expected to continue to run the triple-option.
Since Newberry’s arrival in 2019, Navy’s defenses have been stout. His best season may have come in 2019, as Navy went 11-2 and won the Liberty Bowl and Newberry’s defense finished No. 10 overall in rush defense and improved in every major statistical category, leaping to No. 16 nationally from No. 86 in total defense.
Newberry ended up as a semifinalist for the Broyles Award in 2019 for the nation’s top assistant coach. He’s known as a cerebral presence, as he instilled a “Get 6” mindset where the defense attempted in every game to get six of the following: three-and-outs, fourth-down stops, turnovers or defensive touchdowns in a game. In 2019, Navy went 6-0 when it did get six of those benchmarks.
Perhaps most importantly, Newberry’s defenses have played stout against Army. During his first three seasons, Navy won twice and yielded an average of just 11.3 points per game. In Navy’s double-overtime loss this year, Navy didn’t yield a touchdown in regulation, as the game went to overtime tied at 10 in part because Army scored on a blocked punt.
Prior to Kennesaw, where he coordinated from 2015 to ’18, Newberry’s path through football includes stops at Northern Michigan, University of the South, Elon, Washington & Lee and graduate assistant jobs at Rice and Southern Arkansas. Newberry played at Baylor and graduated from there in 1998.
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