Boxing started at the Naval Academy in 1865 by Superintendent, Admiral David Dixon Porter. Boxing was treated as a casual recreation activity from its beginning until 1919 when the Navy appointed a thirty year old boxer from Baltimore named Hamilton Murrell Webb, but everyone affectionately called him "Spike."
Spike Webb's contagious enthusiasm was perfect for the new program, and in its first season as coach in 1920, Navy went undefeated in intercollegiate competition. Navy was to become a boxing powerhouse and would go on to remain undefeated in dual meets for the next eleven years. During that time span, Navy captured six national titles. Spike coached four U.S. Olympic teams between 1920 and 1932.
Intercollegiate boxing continued at Navy until 1942. After the 1941 season, Navy discontinued intercollegiate boxing and started the Brigade Boxing Championships which continues today after 76 years. The Brigade Championships is still one of the most popular events in the yard.
Spike Webb coached until his retirement in 1954. He was replaced by his assistant coach, Tony Rubino, who came to the Naval Academy in 1947. Tony Rubino coached until 1963 when he stopped coaching and became the Deputy Physical Education Officer until his retirement in 1982. In 1957, Emerson Smith came to the Naval Academy as an assistant basketball and assistant boxing coach. He became the head boxing coach in 1964 and coached until he retired in 1985.
It was during this time that Navy reentered intercollegiate boxing in 1976. Coach Emerson Smith took great pride in making sure boxing was a safe sport for young men to participate in. He, along with engineer professor Jack Smith, did research on twenty different materials ro come up with the safest boxing gloves and headgear. This combination of materials is still the standard used today in amateur boxing equipment.
After Emerson Smith retired, he was replaced by Tom Virgets who coached for one year before moving on to coach in the professional ranks. Tom Virgets has since returned to Navy and is now the Deputy Physical Education Officer. Jim McNally came to Navy in 1986 and continues the strong boxing tradition.