WEST POINT, N.Y. — Intent on ending its long losing streak against its archrival, Army hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as its football coach.
Monken spent the past four seasons as the head coach at Georgia Southern after learning the triple-option offense under Paul Johnson during stints with the Middies and Georgia Tech. He had a 38-16 record at Georgia Southern and helped guide the program’s transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision from the Football Championship Subdivision ranks.
“I am honored and humbled by their trust in me to lead the West Point football program,” Monken said. “More than anyone else, I want to thank the men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation in the United States Army. I am proud to be your head football coach.”
Monken will be introduced at a news conference Monday as Army’s 37th football coach. He replaces Rich Ellerson, who was fired last week after his fifth straight loss to Navy.
The 60-year-old Ellerson went 20-41 at Army and was unable to halt the Black Knights’ losing streak against their most important rival. Navy has won 12 straight in the series, the longest run by either team.
Army seemed to be closing the gap when it lost in 2011 and ‘12 by a total of nine points. But this year, on a snowy Saturday in Philadelphia, Navy dominated again, winning 34-7 as Army finished with a 3-9 record.
Ellerson took over at West Point after eight seasons at Cal Poly and brought the triple option back to Army. The Black Knights went 7-6 in his second year, their first winning season since 1996, and that included Army’s first bowl victory since 1985.
Army went 8-28 in Ellerson’s final three seasons, but the triple option wasn’t the problem. Army’s offense averaged more than 300 yards rushing each of those seasons, but the rest of the team never developed. He had two years left on his contract.
Georgia Southern, which will join the Sun Belt Conference next year, qualified for the NCAA playoffs in all three eligible seasons under Monken, advancing to the national semifinals each year while posting double-digit victory totals.