During his introductory press conference today, Navy head football coach Brian Newberry announced that P.J. Volker has been elevated to defensive coordinator. Volker will also continue to coach the linebackers.

“P.J. and I have been together for six years and he’s a guy that I love and respect,” said Newberry. “He’s an outstanding football coach that has done a tremendous job with our linebackers.  He has been an integral part of our success with his input and game-planning. He’s creative, he’s sharp and the players love him. He’s a fiery guy that motivates our players and I have a certain level of trust in him. We are aligned and see things the same way from a philosophical standpoint on the way we want to do things on defense. I’m excited for him, it’s been a long time coming. He’s had a lot of opportunities to take other jobs, but he’s stuck around because he feels the same way I do about the Naval Academy.”

“It is an honor to be part of Coach Newberry’s staff at Navy,” said Volker.  “I’m ecstatic to continue working at the premier Service Academy and help our young men reach their full potential on and off the field.  We will work tirelessly to build on Coach Newberry’s dominant defense that has become a hallmark of this program.  I could not be more grateful for his Coach Newberry’s mentorship, guidance and friendship over the past six years. My family and I love Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy and the Navy football family, and we will make you proud. Go Navy! Beat Everyone!”

Navy finished sixth in the nation against the run in 2022, which is even more impressive when you consider it was the only defense ranked in the top 25 that faced three of the top-10 rushing offenses in the country. Navy also finished eighth nationally in fewest first downs allowed, 20th in sacks, 22nd in fumbles recovered and 30th in total defense.

Sophomore linebacker Colin Ramos finished second on the team in tackles with 79, while recording 8.5 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

In 2021, the Navy defense acquitted itself well by finishing 32nd in the nation in rushing defense, 34th in total defense and 34th in red zone defense. Senior linebacker Diego Fagot was distinguished with All-American honors, First-Team All-American Athletic Conference, and named All-East. Fagot was also named MVP of the East-West Shrine All-Star Game.

In 2020, after a slow start due to COVID, the defense finished the year with a flurry, holding Memphis, Tulsa and Army to under 300 yards of total offense. It was the first time a Navy defense had achieved that feat since 1997. Fagot was named Second Team All-American Athletic Conference.

In 2019, Newberry’s first year on the job, Navy made massive improvements on the defensive side of the football.

Navy ranked 20th in third-down defense (121st in 2018), 10th in rushing defense (90th in 2018), 39th in passing defense (75th in 2018), 16th in total defense (86th in 2018), and 34th in scoring defense (103rd in 2018).

The Mids finished 10th in the nation against the run despite facing the country’s #2, #3, and #11 rushing offenses. Navy forced the opposing offense off the field in three plays or less in 36 percent of its drives, which was the 10th-best average in the country. The Navy defense gave up just 15.2 first downs per game, tied for third-best in the country. Fagot was named First-Team American Athletic Conference.

The defensive staff, led by then-coordinator Brian Newberry, installed a “Get 6” culture within the Navy defense that took off. Newberry told the defensive players if they got a combination of six three-and-outs, fourth down stops, turnovers, and defensive touchdowns in a game, the Mids would win. In 2019, the Mids were 8-0 when they managed to “Get 6.”

Before he arrived in Annapolis, Volker served two seasons on the Kennesaw State defensive staff and was instrumental in the development of All-American Bryson Armstrong, who led the Big South in sacks (11), while ranked second in tackles (114) and tackles for a loss (12.5) in 2017.

As the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for Trent Miles’ program at Georgia State, Volker coached six All-Sun Belt Conference selections over four seasons (2013-16). In addition, he coached Joseph Peterson, the program’s all-time leader in tackles and a three-time all-conference section.

In 2015, as the Panthers reached their first bowl game in school history, the team was led by the nation’s most improved defense.

Volker spent three years (2010-12) with Miles as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Indiana State, helping the Sycamores post-three-straight winning seasons. While there, seven Indiana State linebackers were named to the all-conference team, including three-time selection Aaron Archie, who was the program’s all-time leading tackler.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Volker was a three-year letter winner and two-time all-conference selection at the College of Mount St. Joseph (Ohio). The 2005 graduate was honored with the school’s Future Five Award, which honors alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years, have excelled in their profession, and have provided service to their communities.

He began his coaching career as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Thiel College.

From there, he joined the staff at Thomas More College in Kentucky, coached the linebackers and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator.

He is married to the former Amanda Naseef, and the couple has two young daughters, Rosie and Ella.

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