KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 25, 2016) – U.S. Merchant Marine Academy 12th-year head football coach Mike Toop announced earlier this month that James Kikel will be joining his staff ahead of the 2016 season as the program's quarterbacks coach. Kikel officially started his new position back on August 8.
Kikel comes to the Mariner coaching staff after a stint at nearby St. Francis Prep. High School in Queens, where he served the 2015 season as the defensive backs coach for the Terriers' varsity football program. After the season concluded, he was promoted to defensive coordinator for the squad in December of 2015.
Prior to his role at St. Francis Prep., Kikel was on the coaching staff at his alma mater, Springfield College, for three seasons (2012-14) while earning his master's degree from the institution. He was the Pride's wide receivers coach for the 2012 season and then spent his final two seasons at Springfield as the quarterbacks coach.
"I am extremely excited to join the staff here at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy," exclaimed Kikel. "I want to thank Coach Toop, Ms. White and the administration at the Academy for giving me this opportunity. The team has been hard at work during preseason practices thus far and I look forward to the upcoming season."
Kikel was a four-year member and two-year starter at free safety for the Pride from 2009-11 and served as a team captain during his senior season. He was selected to the All-Empire 8 Team during his final campaign after he led the conference in tackles. Kikel was named the team's most valuable defensive player after the 2011 season.
A native of Glendale, Queens, Kikel graduated from both St. Francis Prep. and Springfield College. He earned a Bachelor's of Science degree from Springfield in 2012 with a double major in Mathematics and Education with a concentration in Secondary Education. He went on to obtain a Master's of Education in Physical Education with an Athletic Administration concentration from Springfield in 2014.
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