As part of the Academy’s physical education program each Midshipman is required to participate in boxing. Additionally, boxing is offered as a club sport at the Academy; the boxers on the club team participate in the Brigade Boxing Championships. The boxing team participates in individual competitions in the fall and spring, as well as ongoing intra-mural bouts.
The Brigade Boxing Championships showcase the most elite Midshipmen boxers, each performing in three round matches within their weight class. The winners of the Brigade Boxing Championship go on to the regional competition in order to qualify for the national collegiate boxing championships held each spring.
Boxing began at the Naval Academy in 1865 and was treated as a casual recreational activity until 1919 when Navy appointed Hamilton Murrell Webb, known as “Spike,” who turned the team into a boxing powerhouse. A 30 year old boxer from Baltimore, “Spike” Webb coached Navy to an undefeated intercollegiate record during his first year as coach in 1920. For the next 11 years, Navy remained undefeated in dual meets and captured six national titles. Spike also coached for US Olympic teams between 1920 and 1932.
Intercollegiate boxing continued at the Academy through the 1941 season with a 93 win, 14 loss, 8 tie record when it was discontinued during an intercollegiate sports hiatus. During this time, Brigade Boxing Championships began and flourished into what is still today one of the most popular events on the yard.
Spike coach until his retirement in 1954 and was replaced by his assistant coach Tony Rubino. In 1964 Rubino became the Deputy Physical Education Officer and was replaced as the boxing coach by Coach Emerson Smith. The Academy reentered intercollegiate boxing in 1976. When Coach Smith retired in 1985, he was replaced by Tom Virgets who coached the team for just one year before moving to coach professionally. Coach Jim McNally replaced Virgets in 1986 and remains the coach today. McNally has coached 42 National Champions at Navy who have earned over 59 national titles.