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Army extends football coach Jeff Monken's contract beyond 2020

Army football coach Jeff Monken, on the sidelines in 2016.

JOE GROMELSKI/STARS AND STRIPES

By SAL INTERDONATO | The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y. | Published: September 15, 2017

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y.  (Tribune News Service) — Jeff Monken made a promise to Army football fans in the final moments of his introductory press conference in December 2013. It involved four words.

"We will beat Navy.'"

Monken was a man of his word and did what Bobby Ross, Stan Brock and Rich Ellerson failed to do.

Army finally snapped a 14-game losing streak to Navy with a 21-17 win last December during Monken's third season at West Point.

Academy officials rewarded Monken on Thursday for the rise of its football program, including that Navy win, with a "multiyear'' contract extension that runs beyond the 2020 season. Army athletic director Boo Corrigan wouldn't reveal the precise length of the contract or terms in a phone interview.

"When we hired Jeff, we thought he was the right fit for us and believed in him from the beginning and after his second year where we won two (games) and just how close we were (to winning games)," Corrigan said. "You see the vibe around the team. You see the enthusiasm with which they practice and how they go about their business and his ability to hold people to a standard. It's an exciting time for us and we wanted Jeff to feel really good about being our leader."

Monken's original six-year contract would have expired after the 2019 season. He made $932,521, the 73rd most in Division I-A, according to USA Today. Corrigan said the academy and Monken, 50, have talked about an extension since he led Army to an 8-5 record and its second winning season in 20 years last season. The Black Knights defeated Navy and won a postseason game — the Heart of Dallas Bowl — in the same season for the first time in 31 years.

The holdup was transferring the athletic department to the Army West Point Athletic Association, a 501C3 non-profit organization, within the last few months.

"That's part of the whole discussion and we were finally able to get it done within the last week," Corrigan said.

Monken, who is 16-23 at West Point, has coached Army to a five-game win streak, its longest since 1996, heading into its game against No. 8 Ohio State on Saturday.

"That's a credit to our players and what they've done and the culture that they've built and being able to have some success," Monken said of the extension on his weekly radio show Thursday night. "I'm just so thankful to Boo Corrigan and (West Point superintendent) Gen. (Robert) Caslen to have the faith in me and want to keep me here and be the head coach as we continue this program and continue to be this championship tradition here. I couldn't be more pleased. That's behind us. Let's get ready to beat Ohio State."

Monken's thoughts never stray far from Army's rival. He closed a statement in an academy press release with, "BEAT NAVY!"

sinterdonato@th-record.com

©2017 The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.
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