After losing 14 straight games to Navy, Army is on a two-game winning streak against their biggest rivals. The Black Knights held off the Midshipmen 14-13 on Saturday afternoon and fourth-year Army head coach Jeff Monken joined the Jim Rome Show on Wednesday, still beaming after his team’s hard-fought victory.
“It’s exciting. I’m just so proud of our team and happy for those guys to be able to celebrate a great victory over our biggest rivalry,” Monken said. “For the academy it means a lot to everybody here—this entire community, and the faculty, staff, and certainly our cadets. So it’s fun, we’re enjoying it.”
Monken has been a part of both sides of this rivalry, joining the Navy staff under Paul Johnson as a running backs coach 15 years ago. After seeing Johnson build the Navy program back from the bottom, Monken’s in the middle of his own renaissance at Army, 17 wins over the last two years, the Black Knights two best seasons in the last two decades. Yet nothing has signaled that turnaround more than the two wins over Navy, a rivalry game that Monken believes is as good as any in sports.
“It’s an incredible privilege for me as a football coach,” Monken said of coaching in this rivalry. “There’s some great rivalries, not just in football. There’s people in New York City not too far away and Yankee fans all around in this part of the country would argue their rivalry with the Red Sox is the best rivalry in sports. If you went to Ohio or Michigan, they would argue their Ohio State-Michigan rivalry was the best. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, and Georgia-Georgia Tech, you name it.
“I mean everybody has a great rivalry game. There are some incredible rivalries out there. But this game, every play feels like the game is hanging in the balance… It’s just a lot of fun to be a part of something like that, where guys are competing so fiercely and when you pour so much into something like that, to come out victorious is an incredible feeling. It’s indescribable.”