WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — 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.
"We want a successful head coach who understands the challenges of working at a service academy, one who could help us win immediately, and one who understands the importance of West Point's mission. We found that in Jeff," athletic director Boo Corrigan said.
Corrigan added that there was "tremendous interest" in the position, but Monken "separated himself from the others. His passion, energy and strong experience in turning around a program immediately helped him rise to the top of our list."
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.