Steve Johns is in his eighth year at the Naval Academy coaching the inside linebackers and serving as the special teams coordinator.
Navy has compiled a record of 57-34 (.626) in Johns’ tenure, beating Army all seven times, earning six bowl bids, winning three bowl games, winning four Commander-In-Chief’s Trophies and beating Notre Dame twice.
Navy finished the 2014 campaign with an 8-5 record, qualified for a bowl game for the 11th time in the last 12 years, won a bowl game for just the ninth time in school history (beat San Diego State, 17-16, in the Poinsettia Bowl), won a bowl game in back-to-back years for the second time in school history and defeated Army for a series-record 13th consecutive year. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo (57-35, .620) became the all-time winningest coach in school history in 2014, passing George Welsh, when Navy defeated Army for a record 13th-consecutive time. The victory over the Black Knights also made Niumatalolo the first coach in the history of the Army-Navy game to start his coaching career 7-0 against the other Academy.
The Navy defense finished 32nd in pass defense, 37th in interceptions and 38th in the country in red zone defense in 2014.
Senior linebacker Jordan Drake was named All-Independent by Phil Steele, while senior long snapper Joe Cardona was selected to play in the Senior Bowl and was invited to the NFL Combine. Senior punter Pablo Beltran was named All-East and All-Independent.Beltran finished his career with a 41.6 career average, the second best average in school history.
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 also achieved that feat.
The Navy defense held eight of its 13 opponents below their scoring average for the season.Navy opponents averaged 29.9 points on the year, but just 24.4 points against the Mids. They finished 27th in the country in red zone defense and 40th in scoring defense and pass defense.
Senior linebackers Cody Peterson and DJ Sargenti had seasons to remember as Peterson finished tied for second in the country in solo tackles per game (7.2) and tied for seventh in total tackles per game (10.9). Peterson’s 142 tackles were the most by a Navy player since Javier Zuluaga in 1992. Sargenti, who had never recorded a tackle prior to last season and wasn’t moved to inside linebacker until fall camp, recorded 110 tackles on the year, including 71 solo stops.He finished 25th in the country in solo tackles per game (5.5) and he and Peterson became the first Navy teammates to record 100 or more tackles in a season since 2005.
Johns helped lead Navy to an 8-5 record in 2012 and a berth in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.Navy defeated Air Force, 28-21, in overtime and Army, 17-13, to win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy.
Navy was 5-7 in 2011, which included a series record 10th-straight victory over Army. Navy played seven teams that finished with a winning record and six that went to bowl games. The Mids finished 15th in the nation in turnover margin (+0.8).
The Mids posted an impressive 9-4 record in 2010, defeated Army for a series-record ninth-consecutive time, defeated Notre Dame in consecutive seasons for only the third time in school history and appeared in a school-record eighth-consecutive bowl game.
The 2009 season was one to remember, as the Mids tied a school record for wins with 10, won a school-record seventh-consecutive Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, appeared in a school-record seventh-consecutive bowl game and ran its winning streak against the other two Service Academies to an amazing 15-straight games.The Mids capped the season off with a 35-13 rout of Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
The Mids posted an 8-5 record in 2008 and participated in the EagleBank Bowl.The Mids won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy thanks to a 33-27 victory over Air Force and a 34-0 win over Army.
Before coming to Navy, Johns spent two seasons at Grossmont Junior College in El Cajon, Calif., where he served as the defensive coordinator and was a professor in the exercise science department. In 2006, the Griffins were Foothill Conference Champions and posted a 10-2 record thanks to a defense that gave up a school-record 7.6 points per contest.
In 2005, Johns served as defensive coordinator at the University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif., where he led the Leopards to their first winning season in eight years.
Johns coached at UNLV from 1999-2004, serving as a graduate assistant (defensive ends and punt team) for one year before being hired on full time and coaching the linebackers, coordinating the special teams and handling the recruiting coordinator duties for the final five seasons.
Johns began his coaching career at Occidental College, where he coached the defensive line from 1993-95. He coached at the University of San Diego in 1996, serving as the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator, before moving on to the University of La Verne, where he coached the defensive line in 1997 and the defensive backs in 1998, while also coordinating the special teams.
Johns is a 1991 graduate of Occidental College, where he was all-conference and team captain and earned his bachelor’s in political science in 1991 and his Master’s in education in 1995. In 2006, he earned a Masters of Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy.
Steve and his wife Kristin have two sons, Sam and Benjamin, and a daughter, Lily.