Mike Jacobs is the new head coach at Mercer following 8 seasons as a head coach at the NCAA Division II level. Jacobs was most recently the head coach for Lenoir-Rhyne. He boasts an overall record of 74-17 with a 59-11 record against conference opponents across his 8 years as head coach.
Jacobs went 32-9 overall at Lenoir-Rhyne from 2020 through 2023. He won the South Atlantic Conference title in 2023 and led the Bears to the DII semifinals where they lost to eventual national champion Harding 55-14. He won or shared three SAC division titles with Lenoir-Rhyne, never posted a losing season, and made two playoff appearances.
Prior to his time with Lenoir-Rhyne, he was the head coach of the Notre Dame (Ohio) Falcons. Jacobs was successful there as well going 42-8 overall, never having fewer than 8 wins in a season, winning 2 Mountain East Championships, and making deep runs in the DII Playoffs in 2018 and 2019. The Falcons reached the semifinals in 2018 where they lost to the eventual champions Valdosta State 30-24. In 2019, they advanced to the quarterfinals and lost 43-38 to West Florida… the eventual national champions.
Jacobs played collegiately as an offensive lineman at Ohio State and began his coaching career as an OL coach with Eastern Michigan (2002 – 2003), Wilmington (2004), and Purdue (2005 – 2007). In 2008, he took the defensive line coaching position at California University of Pennsylvania (now called PennWest, California) for six seasons. In 2014, he took the same position at Notre Dame (Ohio), moved up to defensive coordinator a year later in 2015, and became head coach in 2016.
Jacobs will take over for Drew Cronic who left Mercer to join Navy as an offensive coordinator. It’s not the first time that Jacobs has succeeded Cronic as he took over the Lenoir-Rhyne program in 2020 when Cronic became the head coach at Mercer. Jacobs will be expected to continue the success built by Cronic who went 28-17 overall and 22-10 in the Southern Conference while guiding the Bears to their first FCS Playoff appearance in 2023. The Bears won the opening round game against Gardner-Webb 17-7 and then lost to eventual national champions South Dakota State 41-0.
Photo Credit to Mercer University Athletics