The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy announced May 19, 2005, that Mike Toop, a 1977 Academy graduate and East Northport, N.Y. native, was appointed the 14th head football coach in Mariner history. Coach Toop is entering his eighth season at the helm of the Mariners.
Toop has coached at some of the nation's finest academic institutions, and previous to returning, spent four seasons as the head football coach at Davidson (N.C.) College. He led the Wildcats' transition to an NCAA Division I-AA program in the Pioneer Football League. The Toop-led Wildcats went 7-3 in the 2002 campaign, as Davidson won seven-plus contests for just the seventh time in the last 100-plus years. The Wildcats played a I-AA schedule in the 2003 and 2004 campaigns.
Prior to his stint at the helm of Davidson's program, Toop was the defensive coordinator from 1999-2000 at the University of Connecticut. He was the primary recruiter for the Huskies in the states of New York, New Jersey and California, and led the UConn defense as it transitioned from I-AA to IA and the Big East.
Toop enjoyed a seven-year tenure as the defensive coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania. The Quakers won three Ivy League championships (1993-94, '98), and went undefeated on two occasions. The Toop-led defense ranked No. 1 nationally in Division I-AA in pass efficiency, total defense and scoring defense in 1994, and ranked No. 4 and No. 25 during the 1998 campaign in run defense and total defense, respectively. Penn set the Division I-AA record for consecutive wins, with 24, from 1992-95. Toop was named the National Division I-AA Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 1995 by American Football Quarterly Magazine.
Also included on Toop's collegiate coaching resume are stops as an assistant football coach at Colgate (1987-91), Union (1985-86) and Albany (1983-84). The Union Dutchmen advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament both years by going undefeated. Prior to that, those familiar with New York-area high school football may remember him from his stops as an assistant coach at Holy Cross High School (Flushing) in 1982, and at Chaminade (Mineola) from 1977-81. He helped guide Holy Cross to the 1982 Catholic Football League City Championship, while Chaminade took home the CFL title in 1977 and 1978. During his time in the high school ranks, Toop fulfilled his Maritime commitment working on off-shore oil rigs and sailing with Master Mates & Pilots. He also fulfilled his Naval Reserve commitment.
Toop was a linebacker for USMMA from 1973-76 and earned four letters. The Mariners' team captain in his senior campaign, he garnered the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player, along with All-Conference, Honorable-Mention All-East and Honorable-Mention All-America accolades and two NFL teams offered free agent tryouts. Toop was inducted and is a member of the Academy Athletic Hall of Fame.
Toop graduated from USMMA in 1977 with a Bachelor's Degree in Nautical Science and earned a Master's Degree in Social Studies Education from Albany in 1984. Toop and his wife, Diana, reside in Stony Brook, N.Y., and have two children - Marcus, a graduate of the Citadel and former Officer in the United States Marine Corps and Jaclyn, a graduate of Union College.