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Ken Niumatalolo: 'I just feel like I need to listen' to what BYU has to say

Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed on Saturday's College GameDay that he is meeting with BYU next week about its head coaching opening.

"I love the Naval Academy," Niumatalolo said. "I love what it stands for. But when this one opened up, it's different. It's just different for me."

Niumatalolo is a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his family were featured in last year's documentary "Meet the Mormons," and Niumatalolo's son Va'a is a sophomore linebacker at BYU.

"My faith is everything to me, and so this is the only reason I just feel like I need to listen to what they have to offer, and that's it," Niumatalolo said.

Niumatalolo's agent told the Capital-Gazette on Thursday that Niumatalolo would be traveling to Provo to tour the football facility and meet with school officials on Monday. Niumatalolo said Saturday that several schools had contacted him about their openings, but BYU was the only school he was interested in talking to.

"I love what I'm doing," Niumatalolo said. "I'm not a guy that's trying to solicit for other jobs . . . I love the kids I coach, I love the people I work with. It's just something inside that I feel like I have to check out."

The job opened up last week when Bronco Mendenhall left for Virginia after 11 seasons with the Cougars. During that period, the Cougars were one of only 11 programs to advance to a bowl game each season, including this one, winning six of those games.

Niumatalolo is the all-time winningest coach at Navy, with a 67-37 record in eight seasons after taking over for now-Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson in December 2007. He signed a long-term extension with Navy in April 2011.

"The only thing that is really disturbing, to all of us, is the fact that it's been played out through the course of the week,'' Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told The Associated Press before Saturday's game against Army. "It's been a distraction. This is the biggest game of the year. We're an institution, and we're certainly a football program, that's steeped in team and not about 'me.' All of a sudden, it's become about that."

Navy won the game, 21-17.

Niumatalolo said he loved his team too much to not talk to them honestly about his decision to check out BYU.

"I didn't want to be one of those guys that says, 'Read my lips. I'm not going anywhere,' and next thing you know, you see them on the plane somewhere,'' he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.