Who’s the best Navy quarterback to run the spread option? Among the old tales being retold when two or three of us meet, that’s a fairly common one. Some point to Kaipo’s grasp of the finer points of the offense. Some point to Craig Candeto’s leadership or Ricky Dobbs’ passing and toughness. Others remind us that the team went 10-2 behind Aaron Polanco. My moment of clarity came as I was scanning through the postgame media notes handed out following the Mids’ 38-37  win over Central Michigan in 2010. Kriss Proctor started that game in place of an injured Dobbs, and did so in grand fashion, running for 201 yards on only 20 carries. One of the notes was on the ten best rushing performances by a quarterback in Navy history. Kriss was on the list, as was Alton Grizzard, Ricky Dobbs, Brian Broadwater, and Brian Madden. There was one player, though, who claimed half of the list all for himself.  Five of the ten best QB rushing performances in Navy history (including #1 and #2) were turned in by Chris McCoy.

McCoy started his first game as a sophomore against SMU in 1995. I was a plebe that year, and as such I was forced to make a bet on the game. My second class wanted me to lay a “motivational” 99 points for Navy, since I was in the class of 1999. That didn’t seem very sporting to me, so I offered a compromise of taking Navy -28 instead, since we were in the 28th company. He graciously accepted, figuring it was almost as safe a bet given Navy’s recent football fortunes. The Mids won that game 33-2, led by McCoy and his 273 rushing yards. I won my bet and had my floor waxed. Chris McCoy earned himself the undying gratitude of a mediocre plebe.

As a runner, McCoy was a special talent. Nowadays, the only time we see a quarterback sweep is when the backup is in the game and the coaches are trying to run out the clock. With Chris McCoy, that play was a staple of the offense; anything to get him out into space with the ball. He was the master of turning sideways and scooting through a hole in the line, and nobody was better at the fake pitch. As a passer, McCoy wasn’t great, but he was better than a lot of people remember and made some huge plays with his arm.

He ran for 273 yards in his first game, and capped his career by running for 201 yards against Army. In between, he was a big part of making Navy football a lot of fun for one lifelong fan in the Brigade. For that, he is granted entry into the Birddog Hall of Awesome.


  1. Navy72

    Nice piece supported by terrific video. In all the recent successes, I had forgotten about Chris McCoy. Shame on me.

  2. Edgar

    Great post and awesome video… We’ve some pretty spectacular QBs from Georgia over the past 20 years in Chris, Lamar Owens and Ricky Dobbs. Here’s hoping Trey Miller carries on that tradition.

  3. Chvw '99


    Nice highlight reel. I was a member of 3rd company, which meant that until he graduated (and actually a few times afterwards), I was part of the group of 120-ish mids that repeatedly chanted at home games, “We want Fay! We want Fay!” since Ben Fay was in our company. However, I think everyone recognized that McCoy was truly the better athlete between the two QBs. Perhaps with a bit of bias and a very fuzzy memory, I thought Fay had the better arm, which he demonstrated pretty well coming off the bench in the 1996 Aloha Bowl against Cal (one of the few bright moments in the Chuck Weatherbie Era IMO). Either way, the few horrid years after McCoy graduated (1999-2002) felt like an eternity and gave some credence to longing for the cliched “Good Ol’ Days.”

    Well done on winning that SMU game bet, btw. [I think I won carry-on for one meal on that one – should have bet bigger…]

    1. It definitely isn’t bias telling you that Fay had the better arm, although McCoy was pretty great throwing the ball in the Aloha Bowl too.

  4. aanavy83

    I was at that SMU game, having the luck to be in Dallas on business. I phoned my Dad, a long time Tennessee fan, after it was over and informed him that: “Navy has a Condredge Holloway!” Charlie Weatherbie owes him at least $500,000.00 of his renegotiated first contract. Offensive coordinator Paul Johnson is the one who found him as a younster db who played option qb as a plebe on the scout team before the previous year’s army game. I believe it was on a tip from previous coach on his way out? Great video and sound!

  5. Keith

    Mike – Thanks for the highlight video. I had forgotten how good McCoy was at faking people out in the open field. I still remember his first game against SMU for 276 yards. He had 250 at halftime before SMU realized they better pay attention to him.

  6. glenn

    Completely unrelated, but I think it is funny that there are basically two eras of video. HD and everything else. Even though this film is from not too long ago, it might has well have been Roger Staubach in the video :-)

  7. Richard Meagher

    As far as running the Spread opton and being effective both running and throwing plus winning ( which is the bottom line) RICKY DOBBS is the man.

  8. DotBone89

    With limited video, IMHO, Broadwater should be in the discussion. Especially without the benefit of Paul and limited benefit of Ken.

  9. Chris McCoy

    Ben Fay is a great friend and we have had some great Quarterbacks over the years. Thank you Mike for thinking me. It was an honor to play the game for Navy. I loved every minute.

  10. John

    Another hall of famer should be Sean Wilson, the F-29 Interceptor. Same class as McCoy. I think it was that core of recruits that really shaped the success of Navy Football in its current form.

  11. Fritz Steiner

    Chris McCoy is the Gold Standard for triple option spread offense QBs.

    Keenan Reynolds looks like has a lot of the same qualities — in particular, one that’s difficult to define — i.e., “This’ll work because I’m gonna make it work”. It has a “force multiplier” effect on the entire the offense.

  12. Tridens88

    Jarrod Bryant deserves some consideration. He pushed Kaipo, and will never forget how he led Navy to a great win at AFA in 2008. He pushed Kaipo to excel.

  13. horizon93

    Reading through your old posts and just saw this. Quick story about that SMU game. My 2 roomies and I (’97) loved Navy football despite suffering through the 93 and 94 seasons. We were listening to the SMU game on the radio in our room and like everyone else didn’t see that game coming. I just remembering going nuts to that broadcast and saying some version of “WTF?” to each other over and over! Loved watching him play those last two seasons I was there.

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