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Brian Newberry is set to make his head coaching debut on August 26th, 2023, when Navy takes on Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland.
Imagine you’ve spent 25 years in the coaching profession.
Grinding your way through the ranks. From graduate assistant to position coach, position coach to coordinator.
Hundreds of long, sleepless nights. Thousands of early mornings rising before the sun.
All in hopes that you’ll reach the height of the profession and one day be named a head coach.
Finally, the coveted opportunity arrives.
Your dream comes true!
Only to realize your head coaching debut will be overseas in Dublin, Ireland, against the storied Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
That scenario is the current reality for Navy first-year head coach Brian Newberry.
Coach Newberry, a former Baylor defensive back, joined the Midshipmen staff in 2019 as defensive coordinator.
The team won 11 games that season.
Unfortunately, Navy only won 11 combined games the following three seasons. After a 4-8 finish in 2022, the Naval Academy decided to part ways with longtime head coach Ken Niumatalolo.
Niumatalolo spent 15 years leading the Midshipmen, reaching 11 bowl games and producing three double-digit win seasons. However, after a third consecutive season of four wins or fewer, the administration decided it was time for a change.
Replacing a guy like that is not easy.
Especially when the first game is in Ireland.
Against Notre Dame.
But Coach Newberry is up for the challenge.
I asked him at AAC Media Days about the mindset heading into the season, specifically as it pertains to his unconventional debut.
“It’s the first game, and we’re gonna treat it like any other game,” Newberry stated. “Obviously it’s a big first game to have; it’s exciting to get to go over to Dublin and play on that kind of a stage against a storied program such as Notre Dame.”
He said, “What a great opportunity for our players; a lot of hard work since December started, and we’re just really excited about the new season.”
Besides having the best beard at AAC Media Days, Newberry possessed quiet confidence and strength. He may be a rookie head coach, but he didn’t carry himself that way.
He’s already giving Navy fans reason to be excited.
Since taking over as head coach, Newberry has brought in an offensive coordinator that is reportedly “adding new wrinkles” to the team’s iconic triple-option offense. Wrinkles to improve a lackluster passing attack.
Also, this team isn’t as far away from bowl eligibility as it may seem.
Five of the losses last season were one-possession games, including a three-point loss to Notre Dame.
VIDEO: Facing Notre Dame in Ireland
Time will tell, but I feel this Navy squad eagerly awaits the season-opening rematch.
Is it too early to put the Irish on upset alert?
Maybe so…but come August 26th, rest assured, the Midshipmen will take the field like a team expecting to win.
Follow me on Twitter/X: @imtreysmith
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