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Mercer taps a Lenoir-Rhyne coach again to lead Mercer Football

Mike Jacobs will lead the Bears on the football field when the team's fall season comes along.
Mike Jacobs will lead the Bears on the football field when the team's fall season comes along.

Mercer has named Mike Jacobs to the position of football head coach after Drew Cronic resigned from his post last week to become Navy College’s next offensive coordinator.

Jacobs, who is leaving Lenoir-Rhyne University after four seasons, will take the reins of his third program in eight years after accruing an overall record of 74-17 (.813) at Lenoir-Rhyne and Notre Dame College (Ohio). During his time at Lenoir-Rhyne he racked up a 32-9 record in the South Atlantic Conference. In 2023, he coached Lenoir-Rhyne to the NCAA Division II Playoffs, where they made it to the semifinals and captured the conference title.

According to the 2001 Ohio State football guide, Jacobs walked-on at Ohio State University as an offensive lineman and long snapper in 1997. Over five years, his teams went 42-19 while he handled extra-point duties as snapper.

He will be The Bears' third head coach since it reinstated the football program in 2013, and the second head coach to make the jump up to Division I from Lenoir-Rhyne since Cronic came to Mercer from that very same school located in North Carolina.

“Our goal throughout this process was to find not only a leader with a track record of success, but also one who will continue to build on the success that our program has already experienced,” Mercer’s Athletic Director, Jim Cole, told Mercer Athletics. “Mike Jacobs shares our values and our vision for Mercer Football, but we also think that he is a leader that young men will want to play for.”

Mercer football is coming off of its most successful season in years after reaching the FCS Playoffs for the first time in 2023, beating Gardner-Webb University in the first round before falling to the eventual champions, South Dakota State University, in the second round.

In addition to losing their head coach, the Bears lost defensive coordinator Joel Taylor to the University of West Georgia, and Mercer moved on from offensive coordinator Bob Bodine following the playoff loss.

Mercer Football has also lost its starting quarterback Carter Peevy '26 to the transfer portal in addition to seeing many of its top playmakers graduate and declare for the NFL Draft. Jacobs will have to fill those holes in the roster through the transfer portal or by developing the talent already on the team if the team wants to continue the success it has had in the last four seasons.

Gabriel Kopp

Gabriel Kopp '26 is majoring in Journalism and Law and Public Policy at Mercer University. He has written for The Cluster since he started at Mercer, and currently works as the Sports Editor. When he isn't studying, he enjoys going for runs and reading the New York Times.

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