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 thirteenth season at the helm of the Mariners.
Prior to returning to the Academy, Toop coached at some of the nation’s finest academic institutions. His previous six coaching stints allowed Toop to recruit nation-wide. He spent four seasons as the head football coach at Davidson College (N.C.). He led the Wildcats’ transition to an NCAA Division I-AA program in the Pioneer Football League. Toop led the Wildcats to a 7-3 mark during the 2002 campaign, as Davidson won seven-plus contests for just the seventh time in the last 100-plus years. Before heading south, Toop was the defensive coordinator in 1999-2000 for the University of Connecticut. He 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. Toop’s defenses were a yearly presence in the national rankings. 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 (linebackers, defensive backs, defensive line and special teams coordinator) 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. Union’s defense was ranked nationally both years.
Upon graduating, Toop fulfilled his Maritime commitment working on offshore oilrigs and sailing with Master Mates & Pilots. He also fulfilled his Naval Reserve commitment. While sailing, Toop coached high school football on Long Island at Chaminade (1977-81) and Holy Cross (1982). Chaminade went undefeated in 1977 and 1978 winning the Catholic Football League Championship. During his one season in Flushing, Toop helped guide Holy Cross to the 1982 Catholic Football League City Championship.
During his tenure at the Academy, Toop has received the Power of Inspiration Award, Coach of the Year Award and the Captain James Liebertz Memorial Award. The Liebertz Award is presented to the person who exemplifies the traits of dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm and love for USMMA Athletics. Toop has also been very involved in various committees on campus.
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.