Thanks to Defiance College Athletic Department

(6-17-22) The Defiance Athletic Department has announced the hiring of Bill Nickell as the next head coach for the Defiance Football program.

Nickell brings of wealth of knowledge and experience as a coach and a player to the football program.

Prior to arriving to Defiance as the offensive coordinator, offensive line and tight ends coach this past winter, he was the offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator at NCAA Division I FCS University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. During the 2021 season, he helped lead the team to SWAC West Champions, a Top 25 FCS ranking for time in school history, an undefeated regular season for the first time in school history, and had the most All-Conference selections in school history.

Defiance Athletic Director Derek Woodley

“I’m excited for Coach Nickell and football program. 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.”

Before his time at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, he spent five seasons at NCAA Division II program Lock Haven University where he was the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, strength and conditioning coordinator, and in 2019 was the interim head coach.

During his time at Lock Haven he helped break many school records and helped guide the offense to Top 10 finishes in almost every offensive category each season. His offenses hold the #1, #2, #4, #6, #9 total offenses and #1, #3, #5 scoring offenses for a single-season in school history.

In 2014, he served at the assistant offensive line and tight ends coach at NCAA Division I FBS Kent State University. The offensive line only gave up 18 sacks on 442 pass attempts and he helped coach Casey Pierce who was an All-MAC selection and signed by the Detroit Lions.

Prior to Kent State, he spent three seasons at NCAA Division II Urbana University where he served as the associate head coach, run game coordinator, strength and conditioning coordinator, offensive line and tight ends coach.

In 2011, the offense finished first in the conference in total offense, scoring, passing and rushing offense, had the most consecutive wins in school history, most wins in a season in school history, set 13 offensive season records for proficiency, outscored conference opponents 129-16, and were GLFC Conference champions. In 2012, offense finished 1st in in GLVC in total offense and passing offense, and had the second most wins in school history. Finally, in 2013 tied second most wins in school history, coached publication All-American and First-Team All American Kyle Wallace, and finished 1st in MEC in total offense, passing offense, passing efficiency, and first downs.

As a coach, Nickell has been recognized for his coaching achievements throughout his career including being named a finalist for the 2019 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year, a 2017 AFCA Top 35 Under 35 Selection, 2016 American Red Cross “Spirit of a Hero” Award, and the American Red Cross “Community Impact” Award.

He has coached 28 All-Conference selections, seven NCAA D-II All-Region selections, 13 All-Americans, a 2021 Willie Roaf Award Winner, Top 10 HBCU Players in the Nation by ProFootball Network and Draft Network, two players nominated for the Gene Upshaw Award (Division II Lineman of the Year), and numerous All-Star Game Selections.

As a player, Nickell was a four-year member of the Urbana University football team where he played on the offensive line and was a two-year captain. During his playing career, he was a NCAA Division II All-American on the offensive line, D2 Football.com First-Team All-Independent, First-Team All-Conference, 2010 All-Ohio College Football by Ohio Football.com (All Division Publication), Two-time Offensive Lineman of the Year, and was named First-Team offensive lineman on Urbana University’s All-Quarter Century Team.

Nickell also received several academic honors during his playing career including being a member of the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Team in 2011, four-time member of Urbana University’s Honor Roll, First-Team Academic All-Conference, and named to the Dean’s List.

Coach Nickell

“First off, I would like to thank my wife and family for their continuous love and support. 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.”

Defiance College also holds a special place for Nickell as both of his parents, Walt Nickell (’86) and Angela (Klima) Nickell (’82), are graduates of the college.

Bill graduated from Urbana University in 2011 with a bachelors in education and is in the process of getting his master’s degree from Kent State University in sports management. He is a 2006 Celina High graduate.

Nickel is married to his wife Andrea and they have two sons, Luke and Wyatt.