Army has reached an agreement on a contract extension with head coach Jeff Monken to keep the coach at West Point through 2027 at an average annual value of $2 million per year, a source confirms to Sports Illustrated. The news was first reported by ESPN and Yahoo Sports.
Army has been in talks to potentially join the American Athletic Conference as a football-only member, and there is positive momentum toward that move, although no deal has been agreed to yet. A source cautioned that Army’s contract extension with Monken and talks with the AAC are two separate decisions, and not directly linked.
Monken has had opportunities to leave the program in recent years, but there has been one key hang-up: his offense. The Black Knights previously had stuck to and won with an under-center flexbone offense. It had become something of a scarlet letter for Monken’s job prospects, as decision makers at other schools apparently have been reluctant to hire him because of how a so-called option coach would play among fans and donors.
Monken stuck with the traditional option because he felt it gave his Army its best chance to win. Army has taken Michigan and Oklahoma to overtime and won 66% of its games in the past six seasons, including two double-digit winning seasons and two more nine-win campaigns.
But an NCAA rule change regarding players blocking below the waist and outside of the tackle box forced Army, in Monken’s mind, to abandon the offense in favor of a more shotgun-based attack, a move profiled in the offseason by Sports Illustrated. The new offense affords Army the ability to throw out of run-pass option plays while still keeping many of the traditional option roots intact.
So far it’s working. After a season-opening loss to Louisiana-Monroe, Army shutout FCS Delaware State and racked up 37 points Saturday at UTSA. The Black Knights registered over 450 yards of total offense, two 100-yard rushers, no turnovers/sacks/penalties, went 6-for-6 on fourth down, and had only two snaps under center (the victory formation to close out the game).
With Monday’s move, Army has made it clear the program would like Monken and his new-look offense to stick around for a few more years.