KINGS POINT, N.Y., Dec. 6, 2018 - Newly-installed U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Superintendent, RADM Jack Buono, announced recently that Mike Toop, will step in as the Interim Director of Physical Education and Athletics at USMMA. Toop will serve in the interim while the Academy conducts a nationwide search to replace Mo White who recently departed for a position with Connecticut College Athletics after three standout years at Kings Point.
“The Academy is most grateful for the many contributions made by Athletic Director Mo White. She made a positive and lasting impact on our athletic programs and our midshipmen. We wish her well in her future endeavors,” said RADM Buono, a 1978 graduate from USMMA. “As Interim Athletic Director, Mike Toop possesses a strong background that will provide leadership and continuity for our programs at the Academy while we conduct a search for the Athletic Director position.”
Toop has been on the USMMA staff for more than 13 years as the head football coach, an Associate Athletic Director and as a lead Physical Education instructor. “I’m pleased to assume the interim athletic director position. My time coaching large, complex programs over the years has prepared me well for this important job,” said Toop. “As a department, we will look to continue the positive programs and initiatives Mo White instituted and our focus will remain on providing the highest quality education and experience for the midshipmen.”
In recent years, Toop’s football teams have become successful within the region, claiming back-to-back bowl game victories – the ECAC Clayton Chapman Bowl in 2017 and the New England Bowl in 2018. The Mariners were also regionally ranked over a two-week stretch during the 2018 season. At the conclusion of this season, Toop became the longest-tenured head coach in USMMA history and he sits in second place in the program record book with 54 victories, 12 behind leader, former long-time head coach and assistant athletic director, Charlie Pravata.
Off the field, Toop took over as the Recruiting and Admissions Liaison after Pravata’s departure in 2014. In that role, Toop assisted all of the Academy’s head coaches with the admissions process to ensure athletes apply to the Academy correctly and on time.
Toop, a 1977 graduate of USMMA, was also inducted into the Academy’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015 for his highly decorated career as a middle linebacker for the Mariners from 1973-76. He both played for, and coached two of the eight Mariner teams in program history that attained a season-best eight wins – the 1976 team that he captained and the 2018 team that just ended the season a few weeks ago.
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Merchant Marine Academy. The Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, was dedicated as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.
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