Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo thought his team’s situation at punter was resolved during spring practice.
Instead, the departure of junior Justin Haan —- for about as laudable a reason a possible —- creates a question at the position.
“He left recently and he’s going to go overseas —- I’m not exactly where —- kind of missionary work,” Niumatalolo said Wednesday. “I’m not sure what country he’s going to, but it’s to help out.”
According to his bio on Navy’s athletics website, Haan spent two months in 2009 working at an orphanage in Kenya. He was Navy’s holder on field goals and extra points last season, playing in all 13 games.
He left spring atop the depth chart and would have replaced Kyle Delahooke, who averaged 38.4 yards a punt last fall while dropping 10 of his 41 attempts inside the 20.
Niumatalolo praised Haan, even while acknowledging the timing of his departure was less-than-ideal.
“It’s kind of hard to tell a guy no, because he’s doing great humanitarian work,” Niumatalolo said. “[But you’re thinking] ‘Dude, this is the worst time to leave, right before camp.’ He had to make a decision. People were telling him ‘This is when you have to go, you can’t go any other time.’ He’s a great person. It’s hard to discourage a guy from going and helping people in other countries.”
Senior Jon Teague, already the Mids’ placekicker, is listed as the starter at punter entering camp.
—- Patrick Stevens