Foxes Alum Named Duquesne’s Defensive Coordinator

In 2012, fresh out of Fox Chapel Area High School, Foxes football player Mickey Jacobs was about to embark upon a journey at Duquesne University that would shape his future. His passion for football led to playing for the Dukes and being part of teams that won three Northeast Conference (NEC) title teams, including the 2015 squad that advanced to the NCAA Division I playoffs. However, after four years on the team, Mickey’s love for the game didn’t end with his playing days; it only grew stronger. 

After years of hard work and dedication, Mickey was recently named the Dukes’ defensive coordinator, and he will continue to coach the defensive backs. Among his players was Foxes alum and recent Duquesne graduate Sam Brown, whom he describes as a great player and an even better person.

Lifelong Passion

For Mickey, football has always been more than a game; it’s a way of life. He reflects on how the sport has impacted his life.

“Football is my avenue to be a role model and positive influence on others,” Mickey states. “It gives me a platform to serve, create opportunity, and make a positive impact, specifically to the younger generations, through my personal passion and love of the game.”

His coaching philosophy emphasizes a player-centered approach and fostering a strong team culture.  

“The players need to be in a healthy environment,” he explains. “My culture revolves around my own core values – hard work, respect, love, discipline, accountability, trust, and intensity.”

From his own experiences, Mickey understands the importance of authenticity in coaching. 

“Don’t try to be someone you are not,” he advises. “Players want a coach that they can relate to and rely on. That can only happen if they see the real you.”


His knowledge comes from many people who have positively influenced his life, including former Foxes high school football coach Bryan Deal. He has also been mentored by people whom he considers having some of the best football minds in the country, such as Duquesne head coach Jerry Schmitt and University of Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi, along with other defensive staff members who helped shape him into the coach he is today.

Coaching has Been a Steady Climb 

Mickey’s coaching career began right after his college graduation in 2017, with an internship on Duquesne University’s strength and conditioning staff, followed by a position as quality control assistant focusing on the defensive line. 

His next step took him to the University of Pittsburgh, where he served as a recruiting graduate assistant for two years and a defensive guard assistant for two years. During his tenure, Mickey contributed to the Panthers’ 2021 ACC championship. That year, Pitt ranked second in the nation in sacks, sixth in rushing defense, and eighth in interceptions. 

After four successful seasons at Pitt, Mickey moved north to the University of Buffalo, where he served as a senior defensive analyst.

However, the call of “home” was strong, and he returned to Duquesne. His recent promotion came after helping guide the Dukes to the 2023 NEC championship and a second Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff appearance. 

Roots and Relationships

Despite his many accomplishments, Mickey has never forgotten his roots. He holds fond memories of Fox Chapel Area High School, where he played quarterback and was a defensive back and linebacker. He still considers the team’s appearance at the WPIAL 4A playoffs in his senior year as a significant achievement.

“What I remember most about playing for Fox Chapel are the teammates, coaches, and the relationships I made,” Mickey says. “We had a very tight group, and some of my best friends to this day are my high school teammates. I also had some very close mentors (such as athletic director Mike O’Brien), who still play a very big role in my life.”

Mr. O’Brien has high praise for Mickey. “He is a great guy, and I hope to see him as a head coach one day. He’s passionate about the sport and is amazing with the kids and parents while out on the recruiting trail.”  

Mickey’s personal life also reflects his ties to his roots. He even married a hometown girl, Abbi Rubin, and they have a 3-year-old son, Julian. 

As he looks to the future, Mickey is determined to lead the Dukes to even greater success in fall 2024.