"After much prayer and pondering, it has become crystal clear the USNA is a special place with special people and I LOVE IT HERE!!!" he texted on Sunday. "Plus I have unfinished business to finish."
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Niumatalolo returned to Annapolis on Saturday after spending two days at Arizona to interview for the job. No offer had been officially made, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, but Niumatalolo and Arizona discussed financials and other issues. When asked if an offer had been made, Niumatalolo told ESPN in a text message, "I would rather not go into too much detail but I will say that there was strong interest on both sides."
Niumatalolo is the winningest coach in Navy football history, with an 84-47 record and nine bowl appearances in 10 seasons. He led Navy to wins over rival Army in each of his first eight seasons, and the Midshipmen's 49-7 win over Virginia in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 was the program's largest margin of victory over a Power 5 team since 1963.
Arizona fired Rich Rodriguez earlier this month in the wake of a sexual harassment allegation the university began investigating in October, and a recent notice of a hostile-workplace lawsuit to be filed against Rodriguez.
Arizona hired a search firm to assist with a national search to find a new coach. Other candidates include California offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, former Texas A&M and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin and Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates.