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Defiance College names head coach, its third in 10 months

Bill Nickell, a young, decorated assistant with ties to the area and the school, will work to bring stability and direction to a program that has lacked both of late.

Defiance College, a Division III school in Defiance, Ohio, and our very own Doug Samuels's alma mater, has named Bill Nickell as its head coach.

"I'm excited for Coach Nickell and football program," said Defiance AD Derek Woodley. "He has a tremendous amount of experience along with a deep passion for Defiance College. We look forward to watching the program continue to improve under his leadership."

Nickell is an internal promotion, and one of the quickest in recent memory. He joined the staff in February as offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and tight ends coach. He was the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2021, and prior to that spent five seasons as the offensive coordinator, assistant head coach, and strength and conditioning coordinator at Lock Haven University, a Division II school in Pennsylvania. 

His offenses produced three of the top five scoring teams in Lock Haven history. He is an AFCA 35 Under 35 alum. 

Nickell is Defiance's sixth head coach in the past seven seasons. Bill Sheehan went 10-30 from 2012-15. He was replaced by Casey Goff, who went 5-5 in his one season of 2016. Aaron Mershman went 2-8 in 2017. Manny Matasakis was 4-23 in two-plus seasons before he was replaced days before the 2021 season due to an off-field incident. Earnest Wilson went 1-9 as an interim last fall, but accepted a position with the upstart Major League Football in May

Nickell played at nearby Urbana University, but both of his parents are Defiance graduates. 

"First off, I would like to thank my wife and family for their continuous love and support," said Coach Nickell. "I would also like to thank Defiance College and the D.C. community, for the opportunity to lead the football program and rebuild the Yellow Jackets championship tradition. It is apparent to me that the support from the alumni and administration are in place to build a successful program. I am beyond excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to get to work with our student-athletes."

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.