Glen Albert Larson, the highly-acclaimed television writer-producer best known as the creator of such 70s and 80s television series as Battlestar Galactica, Quincy, M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B. J. and the Bear, The Fall Guy, Magnum, P.I., It Takes A Thief, McCloud, and Knight Rider, passed away on 14 November 2014 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California from esophageal cancer at the age of 77.
Other shows Larson created included Alias Smith & Jones, B.J. and The Bear, Switch (another series with Wagner), Manimal and The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo. He spent his early career at Universal Studios, inventing new shows and reworking others, before moving to 20th Century Fox in 1980 with a multi-series, multimillion-dollar deal.
With Lou Shaw, Larson conceived Quincy M.E., which starred Jack Klugman — coming off his stint on The Odd Couple — as a murder-solving Los Angeles medical examiner. A forerunner to such “forensic” dramas as CSI, the series ran for 148 episodes over eight seasons on NBC from 1976-83.
In a 2009 interview with the Archive of American Television, Larson commented that he was able to stay atop such a staggering workload because, “I tried to stay with things until I thought they were on their feet and they learned to walk and talk. If you believe in something, you must will it through, because everything gets in the way. Everyone tries to steer the ship off course.”
A Successful Career
Glen Albert Larson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born on 3 January 1937, and began his successful career in the entertainment industry as part of a pop vocal group known as The Four Preps in 1956 and as an NBC page. During his time with the group, they appeared in one of the Gidget films, had a guest shot on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand. Larson also wrote and composed three gold records for Capitol – “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)”, “Big Man”, and “Down by the Station.” He later collaborated with David Somerville, also a member of the group, and Grail Jensen, a session singer that he knew, to write and compose “The Unknown Stuntman” which became the theme song for the series The Fall Guy, and sung by lead Lee Majors.
Larson earned his first writing credit while working on the Quinn Martin production The Fugitive. He left Quinn Martin and signed a production deal with Universal Studios where he gained notoriety with his first hit series, Alias Smith and Jones, a Western which described the activities of Hannibal Heyes and Jedediah “Kid” Curry, concentrating on their efforts to go straight.
He also had a monumental role as an executive producer in developing The Six Million Dollar Man, based on Martin Caidin’s novel Cyborg, into a successful series. However, of all the series that Larson had a part in creating, Battlestar Galactica was perhaps the most personal to him, and the highlight of his genius.
The Insightful Messages of Battlestar Galactica
Larson began working on the concept of Battlestar Galactica in 1968, and was mentored by Star Trek producer, Gene L. Coon during the early development process. The series, originally intended to be called Adam’s Ark, was one of Larson’s most profound adventures as the show incorporated themes from Mormon theology such as marriage for “time and eternity” and a “council of twelve.” He initially renamed the series Galactica, but wanting to capitalize on the popularity of then recently released Star Wars movies, he decided to add the word “star” in the title, and eventually decided on Battlestar Galactica. He was able to secure a generous budget of $1 million per episode for the series. The series spurred a lawsuit from George Lucas for copyright infringement, however, Lucas lost the battle. Unfortunately, the series only lasted for one season (24 episodes at a cost of over $1 million per episode) on ABC from 1978-79, but its overall impact was phenomenal. Larson would later comment:
I was vested emotionally in Battlestar, I really loved the thematic things. I don’t feel it really got its shot, and I can’t blame anyone else, I was at the center of that,” said Larson, who years earlier had written a sci-fi script, Adam’s Ark, with a theme similar to Battlestar’s and had been mentored by Star Trek’s Gene Coon. “But circumstances weren’t in our favor to be able to make it cheaper or to insist we make two of three two-hour movies [instead of a weekly one-hour series] to get our sea legs.
Even with its generous budget, the series often recycled effects shots; it was canceled after one season. The pilot episode of Galactica, titled “Saga of a Star World” in the program continuity, was edited into a two-hour theatrical film released in North America and Europe (a second theatrical release, titled Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack, was compiled by re-editing other episodes of the series). After the series was canceled, Larson went on to create a relatively low-budget sequel to the series, titled Galactica 1980, which was set many years later, when the Galactica had reached Earth. This series was less successful than the original and was canceled after 10 episodes.
Larson re-used some of the sets, props, costumes, and effects work from Galactica for the light-hearted sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1979. Based on the comic-book character created in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan, Larson co-developed the series with Leslie Stevens. The feature-length pilot episode was released as a theatrical film in March 1979 and grossed $21 million at the North American box office. The weekly television series began in September 1979, running for two seasons until April 1981.
Glen Larson, himself a Latter-day Saint, had infused his series mythology with too many Mormon references to ignore. His Twelve Colonies of Man were essentially the Lost Tribes of Israel whose history began at Kobol, an obvious anagram for Kolob, which, in Mormon theology, is the star nearest to the throne of God. The colonies were led by a “Quorum of 12,” and marriages were referred to as “sealings” that extended beyond mortality and “through all the eternities.” The show never shied away from religious themes, and, at one point, the characters encounter a group of angels who paraphrase LDS Church President Lorenzo Snow.
“As you are, we once were,” the angels tell the Galactica crew. “As we are, you may become.”
Battlestar Galactica was remade for the Sci-Fi channel as a miniseries in 2003, and in 2004 it was followed by a series that unlike Larson’s original creation, lasted for multiple seasons and followed the Galacticans to the planet earth. The new series was developed by Ronald D. Moore, and although Larson was not involved in the development of the series, he did receive a screen credit as “Consulting Producer.” Larson’s original series targeted the family as its general audience, whereas the new series was geared for a more mature audience.
According to the Wikipedia article:
The Cylons were now created by humans, and some of them now even looked human; there was more moral duality, complexity, and nuance in both humans and Cylons; the social commentary was more explicit; and the resolution of the “Earth” problem was different.
The series ended in 2009 and was followed by a short-lived prequel series called Caprica in 2010. Larson was not involved in the development of the prequel either, but he was given a screen credit for the creation of certain characters. In February 2009, there was buzz in the media that Larson was in negotiations with Universal Pictures to turn Battlestar Galactica into a full-length feature film possibly based on his original series. The project which was to be produced and co-directed by Bryan Singer was put on hold for some time before being re-announced in 2011 by Singer himself with the film version being a complete remake.
Criticisms, Awards, and Honors
Despite his success, the shows produced by Larson were not highly favored by critics. Their overall criticism was aimed at his “perceived general lack of originality arising from the fact that many of his television series are seen as small screen “knock-offs” of feature films.”
In a Variety.com article published following Larson’s death it was reported that Larson credited his success to “having a strong sense of the type of shows that would click with Middle America.” The article further states that Larson told the Archive of American Television in 2009 that his background was defined by shows that were “enjoyable, they had a pretty decent dose of humor and they all struck a chord out there in the mainstream.” He further commented, “What we weren’t going to win … was a shelf full of Emmys. Ours were not the shows that were doing anything more than reaching a core audience. I would like to think that they brought a lot of entertainment into the living room.”
Throughout his career, Larson received numerous awards and honors. In 1973, he won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for the McCloud series episode titled “The New Mexico Connection.” In 1974 and 1975, the television series McCloud was nominated for the Emmy Award for limited series. In 1978, his television series Quincy, M.E. was nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding drama series. In 1979, his series Battlestar Galactica was nominated for the Grammy Award for best album of original score written for a motion picture or television special. That nomination was shared with Stu Phillips, John Andrew Tartaglia, and Sue Collins. And in 1981, he won the Edgar Award for Best Episode in a TV Series Teleplay for the Magnum, P.I. series episode titled “China Doll,” with Donald P. Bellisario.
Larson also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the television industry. And in 2004, he reunited with other members of the Four Preps for a PBS special.
In addition to his brother, Larson is survived by his wife Jeannie; former wives Carol Gourley and Janet Curtis; and nine children.
Ludmya Bourdeau Love, more commonly known as “Mia,” was born on 6 December 1975 to Mary and Jean Maxine Bourdeau in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents emigrated from Haiti in 1973 leaving their two oldest children behind. Love recalls that her birth occurred prior to the expiration of an immigration law in 1976. After the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, her parents brought her older siblings from Haiti.
Love attended Norwalk High School, and graduated from the University of Harvard where she actively participated in the Hartt School’s Music Theatre program, and received a degree in the performing arts. She later worked at Sento Corporation and the Ecopass Corporation. She was also a flight attendant with Continental Airlines.
Her Political Prowess
To say that Mia Love has a passion for politics is somewhat of an understatement. She served as the community spokesperson in an effort to get the developer of her neighborhood in Saratoga Springs to spray against flies, and in 2003 she became the first female Haitian-American elected official in Utah County, Utah, after winning a seat on the Saratoga Springs City Council. She took office in 2004, and after serving 6 years on the council, she was elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, with an 861 to 594 win over her opponent, Jeff Francom. She served as Mayor from January 2010 to December 2013.
In 2012 she was the Republican Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Utah’s 4th congressional district. She was also a speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
On 18 May 2013, Love announced that she would once again run for Congress in 2014, and on 26 April 2014 at the Utah Republican Convention, she won the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional district. Following the mid-term elections held on 4 November 2014, Love is now the representative-elect for Utah’s 4th Congressional district. Once she is sworn in as a member of the United States Congress, she will be the first Haitian American and first black female Republican ever elected to Congress.
She had previously stated that if she were elected to Congress, she would “join the Congressional Black Caucus and try to take that thing apart from the inside out.” She further described the Democrat-dominated Caucus as being characterized by “…demagoguery. They sit there and ignite emotions and ignite racism when there isn’t. They use their positions to instill fear. Hope and change is turned into fear and blame. Fear that everybody is going to lose everything and blaming Congress for everything instead of taking responsibility.” Now is her opportunity to be the shining light upon the hill and fulfill her promises.
Remaining True to Her Faith
Love had been raised Roman Catholic all of her life. After graduating from college in 1998, she became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her job as a flight attendant afforded her the opportunity to move to Utah where she was able to be closer to the temple and learn more about her new found faith. She was attracted to the Church’s teachings on eternal marriage and respect for women.
Upon moving to Utah she was able to get an apartment with a Utah woman she had known as a nanny in Connecticut. She was also referred to Jason Love whom she had met briefly when he was serving his mission in Connecticut, to help her move in. They soon began dating, and in December 1988 they were married. They have three children: Alessa, 14; Abigail, 11; and Peyton, 7.
Love is pro-life and has been endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List. She also supports domestic energy exploration, local control of education, Second Amendment rights, and state control of public lands.
I love the story of David and Goliath, because in that story, David turns toward Goliath … toward a seemingly impossible challenge. That’s the type of confidence we need to have as we take on the Goliaths of our debt, out-of-control spending, Obamacare and that Godzilla we call the federal government.
Love also recently told Newsweek, “I’m perfectly comfortable in my skin. My parents always told me, ‘In order for people to see you as an equal, you need to act as an equal and be an equal.'”
Ann Romney, wife of former Massachusetts Governor and Republican nominee in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, Mitt Romney, has plans to launch the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases which will encompass research for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) and brain tumors. The center which is scheduled to open in 2016 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts will have a staff comprised of 200 scientists led by Dr. Howard Weiner and Dr. Dennis Selkoe.
An Invested Interest
Ann has a personal interest invested in this undertaking. The mother of five sons and grandmother of twenty-two grandchildren, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis just before Thanksgiving in 1998 and credits a mixture of mainstream and alternative treatments, as well as activities such as equestrianism, with giving her a lifestyle mostly without limitations.
In a December 2002 news article on bostonherald.com, Mitt described watching his wife fail a series of neurological tests as the worst day of his life. He commented, “I couldn’t operate without Ann. We’re a partnership. We’ve always been a partnership so her being healthy and our being able to be together is essential.” Ann would later state in a news report in The Boston Globe dated 11 August 2004, “I was very sick in 1998 when I was diagnosed. I was pretty desperate, pretty frightened and very, very sick. It was tough at the beginning, just to think, this is how I’m going to feel for the rest of my life.” In an effort to combat the disease, she has employed steroids and medical procedures such as reflexology, acupuncture, and cranial-sacral therapy. Her MS has been in remission for over a decade, and is being managed by a healthy diet and exercise. She is also a board member for the New England chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
A Wake-up Call and a New Mission in Life
During Mitt’s 2012 presidential campaign, Ann’s MS flared up and she had to leave the campaign trail. In a 13 October 2014 today.com article, she stated, “I hit empty. With MS you just run out of fuel. You just stop. You can’t even go on. You can’t even talk. It was a real good warning sign for me. A wake-up call.”
Dr. Howard Weiner is Ann’s doctor at Brigham, and the idea for a new research center came about two years ago after a routine visit. She asked him about his efforts to find a cure for MS and was surprised to discover that not only was a cure within reach, but also that MS research is leading to breakthroughs in a cure for Alzheimer’s. Dr. Weiner will be the co-director of the new center.
Her goal is to raise $50 million over the next year to create a new model for necessary research and funding. She and Mitt will be contributing some of their own money as well. According to a news article in The Boston Globe dated 14 October 2014, Ann’s vision is: “Instead of researchers working independently with separate funding, what would happen if they collaborated and pooled their research dollars?” In the today.com article she further stated, “I never would have imagined myself being in a position to have an impact. I don’t think of myself as anyone except just as a little girl that rides her horse. And then grew up and was a mommy. And now all of a sudden, I can have a voice. I want to not even be talking about this [disease] in 20 years. I want this resolved.” Dr. Weiner commented, “We’re going to bring together experts that hadn’t been working together across different fields to bring new treatments and ultimately a cure to these terrible neurologic diseases.”
In his book, “A Mother First,” Joshua Romney, the third oldest of the five Romney boys, concludes his tribute to his mother stating:
Although my father has many trusted advisors who are politically savvy and has many lifetimes’ worth of knowledge about politics and business, he relies on my mother for her wisdom, love, and guidance. I’m proud to say that all of us children feel the same way.
I would venture to say that the average non-Mormon movie goer, without any prior knowledge of what the movie “Meet the Mormons” is really about, but out of curiosity decides to go see it, may at first have some preconceived ideas. No doubt there may be some who may attend expecting the movie to be a media tactic used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to convert more people to Mormonism. However, what they experience from their movie going venture is something far beyond their expectations.
Viewing the Movie through Non-Mormon Eyes
This author has been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 16 years. Prior to becoming a member, I was born and raised in a Baptist home, and at one time in my life I was studying for the Baptist ministry.
As I sat and watched the movie, I opted to put aside for the duration of the movie, my knowledge about The Church of Jesus Christ and Mormonism, and objectively watch the movie “through the eyes” of that young man of years ago studying to be a Baptist minister who had a limited knowledge of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its beliefs other than what he had learned through brief encounters with Mormon missionaries prior to leaving home for military service.
As I did so, I believe that I was able to gain some insight as to how people of different faiths view Mormons in general. The movie even begins with a brief interview on the streets of New York with people being asked what they knew about Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ. Their answers were interesting and I am almost certain that as a Baptist, I may have given some similar answers. Their responses also left me with a sense of wonderment as to how effective my own life is in letting people know that I am a Mormon, and not so much through conversation only, but more importantly by putting my beliefs into action.
Viewing the movie through the eyes of a non-member, from beginning to end, I was overwhelmed by the examples that each of the six Latter-day Saints portrayed, and how through those examples there was always the open invitation to everyone to come and “Meet the Mormons” and learn more about who they are. The overarching message of the movie is that Mormons are ordinary people who raise families, work, actively participate in their faith, and face trials and tribulations in life, the same as anyone else.
Not another Sunday Sermon
Some critics of the movie may have expected the movie to have more of a doctrinal flair. Some may have thought that this would be another documentary about Joseph Smith and the history of the Church. Still, others may have expected a more “preachy” tone to the movie – more like an expanded Sunday sermon. However, it is obvious that is not the intent of “Meet the Mormons.” Yes, the movie talks about the importance of faith in each of the character’s lives, but it does so more effectively by demonstrating how their personal faith plays a vital role in each of their lives.
This author believes that one of the main things that makes this movie stand out and capture the attention of viewers is the fact that gospel conversations were able to be held without actually having a conversation riddled with doctrine and gospel principles. I am not saying that is a bad thing, but this movie was a fulfillment of the old adage that people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day. Each of the stories that comprise the movie are mini sermons within themselves without the actual “preaching.” Each story leaves the viewers, regardless of their faith and beliefs, with something concrete to think about.
At no time during the movie are people asked to leave their faith and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The message that is emphasized is: “We are Mormons. This is what we believe. This is how we live our lives. Our beliefs may be differ from yours, but we are really no different than anyone else.” As the lyrics to the song “Glorious” sung by David Archuleta at the end of the movie exclaim, “It’s like a symphony, just keep listening. And pretty soon you’ll start, to figure out your part. Everyone plays a piece, and there are melodies in each one of us, it’s glorious.”
College and university campuses are filled with students from many diverse cultures and backgrounds. Among those college students there are many who are good looking, and there are many who exhibit intellectual prowess. However, charm and brainpower may not always reside on the same campus with a few rare exceptions.
25 Top Ranked Schools Where Grandeur and Intelligence Combine
According to data collected by Niche (formerly known as College Prowler), an American company headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, that runs a ranking and review site, Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, the largest religious university in the country, is ranked as the top school where students with both beauty and intellect can be found. Other schools which were ranked include liberal arts colleges, large state universities, and everything in between.
“I love my dorm neighbor guys. I have a ton of guy friends and guys I can study with. Smart and cute is a great combination!”
“Not only are the people at Middlebury superficially beautiful and fit, but they’re also hard working, brilliant, interesting and engaging individuals who are passionate about something.”
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“The people you meet is really up to you. If you’re into Greek people, then you’ll most-likely get upper class, preppy, and sometimes snooty people. If you try to meet others outside of the Greek scene, then you’re most-likely to get a more diverse range of people, which could include people who are nice, geeky, etc.”
California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
“I am generally impressed with the individuals I meet on campus. They are smart, outgoing, and easy to get along with. This goes for both guys and girls.”
“Brains, Brawns, & Bills – Bucknell boys and girls are generally attractive, fit, intelligent, fun, friendly, and wealthy.”
“Be prepared to think and have more questions than answers. They work you here and you will reevaluate what you believe and why you believe it. This is not a place for indoctrination; this is a place of theological, personal, and intellectual transformation.”
“Sure there are lots of hipsters, but these hipsters do care about stuff. Stuff ranging from just their clothes to (of course) the environment to philosophy and even math. The social life is hoppin’ every night and most people are friendly. There is a certain amount of pretentiousness but it doesn’t get out of hand. Also, important note: there are so many attractive people (male and female on this campus it’s almost overwhelming… almost).”
University of California, Los Angeles
“The students at UCLA are very diverse, but a majority of the students are very attractive, interested in social events and sports, and also very focused on their studies.”
University of California, Santa Barbara
“Guys and girls at UCSB have a reputation for being super attractive and smart. There are all kinds of people at UCSB but people tend to dress relaxed and beachy during the day, and casual sexy at night. The culture and location here reflects the way people dress and present themselves.”
Wake Forest University
“The typical student is the typical overachiever who is completely stressed during the week but then everyone cuts loose on Wake Wednesdays and the weekend which makes up for the high pressure academically. There is a mix of Southern and Northern brands but definitely buy cowboy boots and bring sundresses/buttondowns and ties for tailgates!”
Brigham Young University – Idaho
“The people are conservative in appearance and nature. The girls always wear clothing that is modest, meaning not much skin showing, but are very attractive. The Norm is to be friendly and helpful with everyone. Generally the interests are related to; the outdoors, church, and laser tag.”
Miami University – Oxford, Ohio
“Miami, yes, is known for good-looking people, with good reason. Campus guys and girls are generally very attractive and keep themselves up-to-date on the latest trends and fashion. That being said, Miami tends to have a certain stereotype, ‘J.Crew U,’ but it is not uncommon for most students to wear jeans to class.”
“Not only are they hot, they are smart! I am partial to the people at Yale because the impression that I got was that they were much more down to earth and relaxed than people I’ve been introduced to before.”
“People at BC are very attractive and very desirable. They’re often the whole package. However, BC is a hookup school, not a dating school. That can be tough in 4 years when all your high-school friends have long-term relationships from college but you graduated single.”
University of Miami – Coral Gables, Florida
“Students at Miami are known for being attractive. There are quite a number of students into athletics. However, quite a number of students are also very studious.”
Santa Clara University
“All the guys and girls at Santa Clara are super attractive. Everyone is friendly, good looking and intelligent. There are always a few exceptions and you do find some weirdos but in general, people are extremely attractive. My friends and I joke its an admission requirement!”
University of Southern California
“I love USC because there is a variety of people who attend. Everyone is an over-achiever but they can also be a great support system.”
“Howard University, is an HBCU with style, class, personality and diversity. The guys and girls are good looking people, starting with their fashion first. Fashion is a big part of Howard culture meaning that most guys and girls are very fashionable.”
“The vast majority of people at Colgate are very well put-together and preppy (and also usually really good looking). Students are also pretty well-rounded and like to participate actively in campus life. Students are hard-working when it comes to classes but they also work pretty hard to keep an active social life!”
“You’ll find a lot of different people at Vandy but the majority of girls and guys are preppy and good-looking. We get a lot of northern people and they definitely bring their style down here. Expect Sperry’s, sundresses, pastel polos, and cowboy boots. Despite the ‘Vandy Girl’ stereotype, girls are smart and the fratty boys are smart too. All are friendly!”
“There is a HUGE range of people here at Stanford, even more than at most other schools, so unless you’re a recluse and don’t ever get out or do much, you’ll have no trouble finding hotties of every shape, size, talent, hobby, personality, and sexual orientation. Trust me. When I first got into Stanford I was really afraid that everyone here would be a super awkward nerd or a huge snob, but the complete opposite is the case.”
“There’s a sporty atmosphere so quite a few students hit the gym often; however, the library is never empty (and the 2nd floor study space’s coffee shop makes it a social hangout). Most social interactions take place through clubs and campus groups (ask any Georgetown student what they’re involved in on-campus and you’ll get a list of at least 4 clubs and/or a sports team). The campus groups are often the ones hosting the parties, but at the same time, they give you a chance to know guys and girls pretty well through daytime activities.”
University of Virginia
“UVA has a lot of very, very attractive people. It has a reputation for having students that are stuck up, but that’s surprisingly not the case. The fact that people here are ridiculously good looking has not made them jerks. Most people are down to earth and friendly.”
Pacific Union College
“Because we are such a diverse school, you will find guys and girls from all over the world. This just allows you to go out of your dating comfort zone, you are to open to a ton of new cultures. You are never limited to the kind of people you can date.”
Brigham Young University – Provo, Utah
“Mormons are attractive. I don’t know why but they are. And smart. Everyone is hot and smart here and it’s crazy! They can come off as a little judgmental, but most of them aren’t, they just seem like it because they’re stereotyped that way.”
Someone has wisely said, “Beauty alone is not impressive. Put an Attitude to be attractive and add Brain to be sophisticated.” This is a statement that is sincerely echoed by the students attending the top 25 schools that have been ranked as having students who are both good looking and intellectual.
Kenneth Va’a Niumatalolo, an American football coach and former player, was born on 8 May 1965 to Lamala and Simi Niumatalolo in Laie, Honolulu County, Hawaii. He was the fifth of seven children. Both of his parents were born in American Samoa. His father, Simi, retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and later worked in food services at the Polynesian Cultural Center. His mother, Lamala, passed away on Thursday, 5 September 2013.
Niumatalolo was promoted to Head Football Coach at the United States Naval Academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, on 8 December 2007 by Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. He is the second person of Polynesian descent to be named head coach of a NCAA Division I Footbal Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football program and the first Samoan collegiate head coach on any level. He was inducted into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame on 23 January 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
From Starting Quarterback to Promising Coaching Career
Niumatalolo graduated from Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1983. During his high school days he exhibited his prowess in athletics by excelling in both basketball and football.
After high school, he attended the University of Hawaii in Manoa where he played college football and eventually became the starting quarterback for the Rainbows (now the Rainbow Warriors) after returning from a two-year full-time Spanish speaking mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Ventura, California, area. During his time with the Rainbows he ran an option-oriented offense under the direction of Paul Johnson, who was then the offensive coordinator, and led the team to their first postseason bowl game in 1989. After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Niumatalolo stayed on as a graduate assistant under Coach Johnson, and by 1992, he had been promoted to the full-time assistant position.
United States Naval Academy Football – The Beginning Years
In 1995, Coach Paul Johnson left Hawaii to become the offensive coordinator at Navy and took Niumatalolo with him as his running back coach. The following season, Johnson left the Naval Academy to take a head coaching position at Georgia Southern, and Niumatalolo was elevated to take his position. During his time as offensive coordinator, he tutored quarterback, Chris McCoy, who in 1997, set a Division I-A record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 20 touchdowns. The record would not be broken until a decade later, in 2007, by Florida’s Tim Tebow. On 12 December 2009, at the annual Army-Navy football game, Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs reclaimed the record with 24 touchdowns in the 2009 season.
Niumatalolo left the Naval Academy in 1999 to become an assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for three seasons (1999-2001). While there, he called the plays (2001) and worked with the kickoff return unit. Under his guidance, UNLV ranked sixth in the nation in kickoff returns in 2001 and finished second in 1999.
Return to the Naval Academy and Ready for Action
In 2002, Coach Paul Johnson returned to Navy as the head coach and hired Niumatalolo as his offensive line coach. Niumatalolo soon proved himself when in four of his first five seasons he established a rushing attack that led NCAA Division I-A/FBS in yards per game, which included an unparalleled three consecutive seasons (2004 – 2006) of leading the nation in that category. In 2008, Navy once again led the nation in the number of yards per game with an average of 292.4 yards per game on the ground.
The rushing attack strategy which Niumatalolo had established helped Navy football to realize a level of success that it had not seen in decades. With Johnson as the head coach and Niumatalolo as the offensive line coach, Navy maintained a record of 45-29 and appeared in a bowl game every year from 2003 through 2007, Johnson’s last season in Annapolis. During the same period, the Midshipman won the coveted Commander-in-Chief’s trophy every year.
Coach Johnson left the Naval Academy for Georgia Tech in 2007, and Niumatalolo became the 38th head football coach in Naval Academy history when he was promoted to the position by Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk on 8 December 2007. On 7 January 2009, Niumatalolo was given a contract extension, although the terms and length of the extension have not been released to the public.
With Coach Niumatalolo at the helm, commencing with the 2008 season, the Navy football team has continued their run of success and have been able to accomplish things that have never been done in the 132-year history of the Navy football program. According to his profile on Navy Sports, the official website of Naval Academy athletics:
Niumatalolo’s 49 wins are the most in school history by a coach in his first six years and rank third all-time at Navy, just six wins behind the all-time leader George Welsh.
He led Navy to a 10-win season in 2009, which tied for the most wins in school history, and he is the first coach in program history to lead Navy to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons. He is also the first Service Academy coach to win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy in his first two years as a head coach.
This past fall, Niumatalolo was selected to the inaugural class of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame and was inducted on January 23 in Honolulu.
Niumatalolo is just the second coach since World War II to lead Navy to a winning record in each of his first three seasons at the helm and joins Eddie Erdelatz and Wayne Hardin as the only Navy coaches to beat Notre Dame in consecutive seasons. He and Paul Johnson are the only coaches in Academy history to start their careers 6-0 against Army.
Navy finished the 2013 campaign with a 9-4 record, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time in the last 11 years, qualified for a bowl game for the 10th time in the last 11 years, won a bowl game for just the eighth time in school history (beat Middle Tennessee, 24-6, in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl) and defeated Army for a series-record 12th-consecutive year. The 2013 squad is just the fifth in Navy history to win at least nine games in a season, beat Army and win a bowl game. The 1957, 1978, 2004 and 2009 teams are the only other teams to have achieved that feat.
Highlights of his first season as head coach (2008) include: an upset in Winston-Salem over #16 Wake Forest, 24–17, the Midshipmen’s first victory over a ranked team in 23 years, and a 34–0 shutout victory over Army. Other Highlights of Niumatalolo’s career as head coach at Navy include:
Navy has defeated Army every season (six times). The Midshipmen have won 12 straight Army–Navy Games which is the longest winning streak for either Navy or Army.
The Midshipmen captured the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in 2008, 2009 and 2012, with an outright capture of the trophy in 2013 when they defeated the Army football team with a score of 34–7.
The Midshipmen have had five winning seasons. They have played in 5 bowl games during Niumatalolo’s tenure, and were victorious in the 2009 Texas bowl and the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl.
Navy defeated longtime rival Notre Dame in 2009 and 2010. This was the first time that Navy has defeated Notre Dame since 1963.
For the Love of Family
Coach Niumatalolo and his wife Barbara live in Annapolis, Maryland and have 3 children, a daughter, Alexcia, and sons, Va’a and Ali’i. He and his wife first met at a dance when she was a student at BYU-Hawaii and he was recently returned from his mission in Ventura, California.
His son, Va’a Niumatalolo, is a 2011 graduate of Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Maryland. While there, the 6’1”, 226 pound athlete demonstrated his own sports prowess on the football field by playing the position of Inside Linebacker for the Broadneck Bruins. He is currently a freshman at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where he plays the position of Linebacker for the BYU Cougars. Va’a is also an Eagle Scout and served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ in St. George, Utah.
Ali’i Niumatalolo is currently a junior at Broadneck High School. The 6’2’, 226 pound athlete is also making a name for himself as a Middle Linebacker for the Broadneck Bruins’ varsity football team.
Alexcia Niumatalolo, the oldest of the children, was enrolled in the College of Letters and Sciences while attending the University of Maryland. She is also a star athlete in the sport of lacrosse. It is noted that she chose the University of Maryland because she wanted to play for the most prestigious lacrosse team in the country and also because of the excellence of the coaching staff. While at Maryland she played the position of starting defender for the Maryland Terrapins and was recognized as a Division 1 Athlete.
Her father states that she showed an interest in sports at an early age. She did not start playing lacrosse until her freshman year at Broadneck High School, but it was the fundamentals that her extremely competitive father helped develop at home that paved the way for her future success. He further commented:
I didn’t want to push her, but I wanted her to play sports,” Ken said. “Thankfully for her, she enjoyed it. She enjoyed playing basketball and soccer and always wanted a ball in her hands. … She was always very athletic, even at a young age – things kind of came naturally to her.
Alexcia further commented, “He would coach me all the time and set up drills for me. Everything with him was always competition.”
Faith Precedes Football
Coach Niumatalolo is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his family are members of the Broadneck Ward of the Annapolis Maryland Stake.
The day that he was named head coach at Navy, his life and that of his family dramatically changed, in that they went from living in a humble home on the Naval Academy grounds to a more spacious home which was once occupied by some of his predecessors. However, the success that Niumatalolo has been able to achieve has not deterred him from living a life that is based on faith and gospel principles, and it is also that faith and those principles which he uses as the patriarch of his home to help keep his family well grounded.
My number one title is not the head football coach at the Naval Academy, my number one title is being a husband and a father. I read all the time about guys monitoring their players and stuff and I think that’s fine, making sure they’re going to class and all those things. That’s important. I’ve always thought, if you’re monitoring your players 24 hours a day, who’s monitoring your own family? Who’s watching your own kids? I make sure that we’re not burning the midnight oil here. I feel like we can be efficient in our work hours here. We’re probably more of an early morning staff, guys get here a little bit earlier but I want guys to go home after practice. I want them to go home and see their families. They can do their recruiting stuff at home.
I go to conventions all the time and I hear all these coaches talk about some of the regrets they’ve had in their careers, and these are all great coaches that have accomplished a lot of great things, and a lot of them mention, “I wish I’d spent more time with my family.” I don’t want that regret. I’d rather at the end of the day look yourself in the mirror and be like, “You know what? I was able to be a father and a husband.” And I want my coaches to have that same opportunity. To me, family time is very important. I’ve always taken this approach: if it takes you 24 hours to watch tape and you’ve been in the film room all day, how are your kids going to figure it out in a 45 minute meeting? You’ve just got to make sure it’s not that complicated, try to keep things simple. Don’t get me wrong, we’re working. We work early. I want to make sure our guys are efficient and go home and be a father and a husband.
Missionary work is near and dear to Coach Niumatalolo’s heart and he is often asked questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he is always ready and willing to answer. However, he does not believe in forcing his beliefs on anyone, especially players.
Being the head coach you have a captive audience, but it would not be right for me to push anything besides the principles of teaching and coaching football to my players. They can believe in what they choose. We all have free agency. I try to be an example,” he said. “That is the way I approach things.
He further commented that if an LDS young man were to ask him advice about whether or not he should pray about serving a mission, his response would be:
Why do you need to pray? The Lord has already told you through his servants what you are supposed to do – you are supposed to go. Prepare yourself and when you are 19, you go. Now, if someone is praying to confirm a mission call, that’s different. That’s good. But confirmation about going on a mission, you don’t need to pray. The answer is yes, so prepare yourself. That is how I feel.
Niumatalolo believes that putting the Lord first and listening to the voice of the Spirit are the real keys to success. He begins each day by reading and studying from the Book of Mormon. In addition to personal scripture study, he also admonishes that devotion to family, church service, and living the gospel have played a major part in his being able to handle the stress and rigors of being a college football coach for almost two decades. As head coach at Navy, he made the surprising decision to cancel all staff meetings on Sundays.
Ken Niumatalolo will be one of six Latter-day Saints who will be featured in the new feature-length film produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called “Meet the Mormons” which will premiere in select theaters on 10 October 2014.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.