Mercer’s newly hired head football coach, Mike Jacobs, gave an introductory press conference on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the coach’s reign at Mercer.
About 50 people gathered in the University Center to hear what Jacobs had to say about the opportunity to lead the Bears in the upcoming football season. Athletic Director Jim Cole highlighted the vast search that Mercer went on to find their next coach after former head coach Drew Cronic left for Navy College’s offensive coordinator position.
“Drew gave us all he had,” Cole said. Cronic left the program after coaching Mercer to its first appearance and win in the FCS playoffs in 2023, in addition to a 23-11 record in the past three seasons.
The search for the program’s next head coach ended up in a familiar place — Cronic left Lenoir-Rhyne University for Mercer’s head coaching gig, which is what Jacobs has done now, too. However, Cole said that the candidate pool was far larger than that pattern suggests.
What the search committee was focused on, Cole said, was a candidate who was a current head coach, a proven winner, someone who could recruit a quality staff and who could build character and academic prowess among their players.
In Jacobs, Cole said, they found each of those qualities.
Jacobs said that he was attracted to Mercer because the size of the school and the feel of Macon was similar to that of Hickory, North Carolina, home of Lenoir-Rhyne. Additionally, he highlighted the talent that the state produces every year coming out of high school and Mercer’s proximity to those recruits.
“We are just scratching the surface of what Mercer University can be,” Jacobs told the crowd of media, donors and other Mercer fans.
Later, Jacobs touched on the coaching philosophy that he has brought to the various teams he has coached in his time. Running to the ball, tackling and blocking, he said, are some of the tenets of the sport that need to be mastered by each of his players. Once they have those basics down, Jacobs believes they will be able to compete with the best of their FCS foes.
The new coach said that his goal for the next season won’t be to rebuild; instead, he wants to build on what they had, using the last season as a benchmark.
“We will accomplish great things here,” Jacobs said.
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.