“Meet the Mormons” introduced a global audience to the Niumatalolos. They were filmed having fun together at home, worshipping at church and, of course, gathering at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for Navy football games.
The post-film years have been eventful for the entire family. Daughter Alexcia is a flight attendant living in Hawaii. Son Va’a is a linebacker at BYU preparing for his senior season. He and his wife, Kenzie, are expecting a baby this summer. Coach Ken will soon be a grandpa.
Meanwhile, youngest son Ali’i served a mission to Chile and is enrolled at the University of Utah where he’ll play football.
You read that right — the Niumatalolos are a mixed-Cougar/Ute family.
“There will be red and blue on both sides of the dinner table,” laughed the coach.
The work of a college football coach is never done. There’s always more game film to watch, more plays to scheme and more athletes to recruit. Still, Niumatalolo continues to makes time for his church duties.
Each Sunday he puts to use the language skills he learned as a Spanish-speaking missionary in California, serving as the high councilor in Annapolis’ Spanish-language branch. Barbara works in the Primary.
“It’s been a rewarding calling for both of us,” he said.
Annapolis Maryland Stake President John Jackson, said the coach — like any good Navy man — adroitly navigates the demands of his profession and the duties of his faith.
“In any job that Ken’s done, he’s put the Lord first,” said President Jackson “Everything else just seems to fall into place.”
The members of the Spa Creek Branch, he added, “sincerely love the Niumatalolos.”
Prayerful time management has kept Niumatalolo in the college coaching business.
As a young assistant, intent on establishing his bonafides, he usually left home for the football office when his children were still asleep. When he returned late that evening the kids were already in bed.
Such burdens, he said, “almost forced me out of the profession.”
But as a head coach, he’s been able to strike a football-family-faith balance that works. The hours are still long — “I get to the office at 3 or 4 in the morning.” — but he’s home in time for supper.
He doesn’t work Sundays.
The coach’s scandal-free success at Navy has earned him high regard as a leader. He’s sought out to speak at business conferences, coaching clinics and youth gatherings.
“All of the leadership principles that I know are principles I learned in church — those things like working in a priesthood quorum and learning how to lead like the Savior leads.”
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