Bickel to Retire, Cummings Hired as Defensive Coordinator

Jim Bickel
Jim Bickel

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican head football coach Bill Conley announced on Monday the retirement from coaching of defensive coordinator Jim Bickel and the hiring of Kelly Cummings to succeed him.

"I want to thank Jim for his services to the program over the past three years," Conley said. "He has done a great job for us, as evidenced by our defense ranking near the top of the GLIAC in each of the past two seasons. We're sorry to see him leave and wish him the best in the future."

Bickel joined the Panthers in 2010, their first season of Division II and GLIAC play. In 2012, he oversaw a defensive unit that ranked second in the GLIAC in scoring (20.6 points per game), third in total defense (333.9 yards per game), third in rushing defense (126.4 yards per game), first in pass defense efficiency, first in interceptions (18) and first in opponent's third down conversions (32.5 percent).

In its final 18 quarters of football this season, spanning four and a half games, ODU's defense stifled the opposition, limiting its foes to 49 total points in that stretch. Overall, the Panthers finished the season with an 8-3 mark, including 7-3 in the GLIAC, good for a tie for second place in the conference standings.

A long-time collegiate coach in Central Ohio, Bickel came to ODU after spending nine seasons at nearby Capital, including two as the head coach (2008-09). During his tenure at Capital, Bickel's stamp on the program was an aggressive defense that produced a national defensive player of the year and seven All-Americans. He was twice named the Ohio Athletic Conference Assistant Coach of the Year after helping lead the team to three straight playoff appearances from 2005-07.

Cummings, meanwhile, has more than 15 years of collegiate coaching experience at the Division I, II and III levels.

"We're really excited to have Kelly join our program," Conley said. "He brings a great defensive mind to our staff and has a wealth of experience at all levels. Additionally, he's an outstanding recruiter who has a great relationship with high school coaches across the state. He's very well-respected and a proven winner everywhere he's been."

He began his coaching career in 1995 at Denison, where he served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

In 2000, he moved to Wittenberg, where helped lead the Tigers to four NCAA playoff appearances while coaching two conference defensive players of the year. The 2000 Wittenberg defense finished second nationally in total defense, and his unit led the conference in total defense from 2000-04.

Cummings then moved on to become the defensive coordinator at Findlay in 2006. While with the Oilers, he was named the 2009 Division II Defensive Coordinator of the Year and had Findlay amongst the GLIAC leaders in red zone and pass defense efficiency during his time there.

In 2011, Cummings was hired to coach defensive line and special teams at Toledo, where the Rockets won the MAC West title as well as the Military Bowl. The Rocket defense ranked fourth nationally against the run and was third nationally in turnover ratio at +12 for the season.

Cummings played collegiately at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, leading the team to the Sunbrok Dixie Rotary Bowl, and Easten Kentucky. He helped lead EKU to three Ohio Valley Conference titles as a linebacker.

Contact: Scott Miles

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