SALT LAKE CITY — Navy's 17-10 victory over Army last December placed coach Ken Niumatalolo in the record books as the all-time winningest coach in the history of the U.S. Naval Academy.
While humbled by that milestone, the Hawaiian coach admitted to a room filled with hundreds of college students that he really wasn't shocked by the accomplishment.
"We became the winningest staff at the Naval Academy by never meeting on Sundays, and Sundays are (regarded as) the most important preparation day in college football," said Niumatalolo, dressed in a dark suit and tie. "When I got the job I knew it would work out. Eight years later it's not a surprise because I knew the return on that investment would be guaranteed."
With the gospel of Jesus Christ, your return investments are always guaranteed.
That was one of the main messages the Navy football coach shared with students at LDS Business College's "Learn to Earn" Conference on Friday at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Niumatalolo, one of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently featured in the movie "Meet the Mormons," spoke for just under 40 minutes at the conference.
Niumatalolo showed a short video about Navy football and described the ups and downs of being a college football coach. He pointed out that's his job, but not who he really is.
"What you do should never determine who you are," Niumatalolo said. "Everything I do is based on an eternal perspective. My wife, my kids. My family makes me tick. That's the most important thing."
Sometimes people become consumed with their jobs, making money and material things. As a result, they forsake important relationships and struggle to find happiness in life, Niumatalolo said.
"When building your earthly kingdom becomes more important than building the kingdom of God, you will never be happy. It will never work out," Niumatalolo said. "Who you are should determine what you do. ... Build your brand with your testimony embedded in it."
For example, Niumatalolo recalled working on the staff of former UNLV football coach John Robinson. He observed how Robinson treated everyone he met with the same respect and kindness, from high-profile dignitaries down to the locker room custodian, and was inspired to do the same as he continued his career.
Next, the coach shared his game plan for life.
Each year, high school coaches visit the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, to ask questions about the Midshipmen's triple option offense. They marvel at the simplicity and ask, "Is that it? Are you holding something back? There has to be more to it than that."
It really is that simple, Niumatalolo said, and it's the same with gospel principles.
He encouraged the students to pray and read the scriptures daily, keep the commandments, and listen to and obey the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is really very simple. It was meant to be that way," Niumatalolo said. "Heavenly Father is not trying to trick us. Heavenly Father wants all of his children to succeed. ... I promise you that your guaranteed return investment will come if you apply these eternal truths in whatever you do."
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