Niumatalolo says he’s not looking to leave Annapolis
Speculation began after word got out that coach had changed agents
When word filtered out last week that Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo had changed agents, some national reporters speculated he might be looking to change schools, too
But in an interview with The Baltimore Sun Media Group on Monday, Niumatalolo said fans and media should not read too much into his decision to become a client of TLA Worldwide, where he will be represented by Lee Kaplan. Niumatalolo said his longtime agent, Evan Beard, is getting out of the business and he needed a replacement.
“Evan is doing really, really well on Wall Street, so he is phasing out of being an agent. He recently got promoted and has a new job that is very time-consuming,” Niumatalolo explained. “Things are evolving. I needed someone to represent me. I have to protect myself.”
Niumatalolo scoffed at the notion that hiring new representation meant he was trying to ascend to a higher level of college football. Over the years, several schools from Power Five conferences have expressed an interest in Niumatalolo when seeking to fill a head coaching vacancy.
Thayer Evans, a former investigative reporter for Sports Illustrated, recruited the ninth-year head coach to The Legacy Agency, where Evans is now a director of coaching.
“I’ve known Thayer for a couple years and developed a pretty good relationship with him,” Niumatalolo said. “In a lot of ways, Thayer is a lot like Evan. He was someone I felt comfortable with and could trust.”
Niumatalolo repeated that he only sought new representation after Beard told him he could no longer spend time working as an agent.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people in the business have tried to solicit me away from Evan. Every year, I get inquiries from different agencies,” Niumatalolo said. “Evan has done a phenomenal job for me and my family, and we’re indebted to him. Evan is going in a different direction with life, which is totally understandable.”
Contacted Monday, Beard confirmed that he recently received a promotion with U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and did not believe he could adequately serve his clients as a sports agent any longer.
“You either need to be completely in this game or completely out. I am getting completely out of this game and will no longer be involved with any type of representation,” said Beard, who will continue to perform financial management for Niumatalolo and other clients.
Beard believes this changeover in representation comes at a good time, because he just negotiated a longterm contract for Niumatalolo.
The Legacy Agency also announced that it has signed Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper as a client. Jasper, who has been a finalist for several head coaching positions, also had been represented by Beard.
When Niumatalolo was named Navy head coach in December 2007 and suddenly realized he needed someone to negotiate a contract, he didn’t do much research. He turned to a former Navy football player and occasional tennis partner.
Beard, who played linebacker for Navy in 2003 and 2004, had developed a reputation for providing sound advice in terms of financial management before even graduating from the academy.
Head coach Paul Johnson was among many people associated with the program who had done some investing with Beard, whose father enjoyed tremendous success in that business. Bruce Beard founded Beard Pension Services in Youngstown, Ohio, and his son developed the same Saturday, 4 p.m. TV: ESPNews Radio: 1090 AM, 1430 AM Line: Navy by 71⁄ Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said he changed agents because his old one was leaving the business. talent for developing. investment strategy.
“I’ve been around a lot of intelligent guys here at the academy, but Evan was probably one of the smartest players that has ever been in our locker room,” Niumatalolo said. “The guy has always been involved with money, and his business acumen is remarkable.”
Beard and athletic director Chet Gladchuk agreed on terms for a new long-term deal for Niumatalolo in December. That came after Niumatalolo flirted with taking the head coaching position at Brigham Young.
Gladchuk declined to provide specifics of the reworked contract but acknowledged that Niumatalolo received an increase in base salary with other considerations.
“We reworked things a bit for Kenny as a show of appreciation for a job well done,” Gladchuk said in December. “We have always treated Kenny fairly with regard to compensation, and this is just a continuation of that mindset.”
Niumatalolo was earning a base salary of just under $1.7 million, according to a USA Today report on Division I head coaching salaries. However, that figure is believed to be based on when the contract was originally signed in 2011. Sources have told The Baltimore Sun Media Group that Niumatalolo had annual escalators built into the contract that increased the salary over the years.
The Baltimore Sun Media Group has also learned that Niumatalolo’s previous contract included bonuses for such accomplishments as beating Air Force and Army West Point, winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy and qualifying for a bowl game.