Navy head coach's playbook of principles

Published: Sunday, Aug. 28 2011 9:00 a.m. MDT

The Niumatalolos are the parents of three children — Alexcia, Va’a and Ali’i. In a profession where victories determine employment, love and laughter at home help the Niumatalolos survive the wear and tear of each grueling season. Barbara Niumatalolo says Ken is good about not taking out football frustrations on the family.

“After a loss he comes home to be with the family,” Barbara said. “Sometimes you have to count your blessings when something has happened that you feel is the end of the world.”

Niumatalolo credits his “great” wife with being able to manage everything at home.

The Niumatalolos draw strength by eating meals together and participating in family activities. For a personal outlet, Ken Niumatalolo also finds peace in spending hours mowing the lawn in creative diagonal designs.

In addition to their own family, the Niumatalolos also feel the need to watch over their other family — the coaches, players and their families.

“It becomes exponential when you are the head coach, the responsibility is greater,” Barbara said. “Now you have 100-plus-something sons, and we are concerned for everyone. We recruited them. We worry and pray for the players like our own kids.”

Ken tries to remember that when coaching the team.

“It makes you realize that’s still somebody’s son,” he said. “If I lose my temper at times, I’ve got to catch myself, you know what, that’s somebody’s son. Just treat them with respect. I know how I want my kids treated.”

This fall, his son is at BYU. Va’a, a walk on linebacker, is attending BYU for one semester before departing on a mission. He credits his parents with having taught him the essentials.

“Always put the Lord first in whatever you do,” Va’a said. “Then everything else will fall into place.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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