Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
College: Southwest Missouri State '99
Years at Whittier: 3rd
Neale was Albright's longest-tenured assistant coach and was with head coach John Marzka for all eight of his seasons on the Lion sideline. Albright won the MAC title this season and advanced to the NCAA playoffs. The Lions defeated Norwich 49-0 in their first-ever home NCAA playoff game and then lost to Mount Union in the second round of the playoffs. Neale had six of his defensive players earn all-conference honors that season, and the Lions defense led the nation in defensive touchdowns with six.
Neale helped produce the most successful eight-year stretch in school history. Albright has amassed 59 victories during that span and participated in the postseason in seven of the eight years.
The 2014 season saw Albright compile a 6-5 overall record and a trip to the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl. Orchestrated by Neale, the Lions had one of the top defensive units in the conference. Six Albright defenders earned all-conference honors, and defensive lineman Jamal Hayden earned honorable mention All-America honors. Additionally, his defense earned four conference defensive player of the week honors, four ECAC Southeast Defensive Player of the Week honors and three D3football.com Team of the Week citations.
During his first three seasons Neale coached the wide receivers and kick/punt returners, as well as serving as the JV head coach and director of football operations. He then served as the special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and inside linebackers coach.
Albright turned in another 8-3 campaign in 2013, winning the ECAC Southwest Bowl. The Lions had seven All-MAC selections on defense, including senior safety Drew Peterson. Peterson was named to the prestigious AFCA Coaches and Associated Press Little All-American teams, while also earning second team honors from D3football.com and BSN.
The Lions went 8-3 overall in 2012, winning the ECAC Southeast Bowl. Neale's defense garnered six All-MAC selections, while defensive end Mark Capetola and Peterson earned national Player of the Week honors during the season.
Neale led one of the top special teams units in the nation in 2011, garnering a pair of All-Region selections. Punter Brooks Mitzkewich earned Mid-Atlantic All-Region honors after recording the second-highest punting average in school history, and was joined by special teamer Matthew Hnatiuk (with a team-high 14 tackles on kick coverages). Mitzkewich, Hnatiuk and freshman kicker Jordan Loiodice all earned MAC Player of the Week recognition during the regular season as well.
In Neale's three years coaching the receivers, he developed one All-American wide receiver, four All-Conference wide receivers, and two ECAC All-Star receivers. The Lions' passing game thrived as one of the top air attacks in the MAC, and saw WR Nate Romig become the leading scorer in the history of Albright College football.
While coaching the kick and punt returners, Neale developed two All-Conference returners, as well as one All-East Region and one ECAC All-Star returner. During that span, the Lions returned a MAC Conference-leading nine combined kicks and punts for touchdowns.
"The teams Mike has coached with have consistently won at a high level and he has demonstrated the ability to create a strategic vision to build a program and then implement his plan to be successful," stated Coleman. "We are excited to begin a new era of Whittier football and support Mike and his staff."
Neale came to Albright College in 2007 from San Diego, CA, where he worked with the offensive skill players at Grossmont College. Prior to that, Neale coached at Valhalla High School in San Diego from 2000-06, and saw the program develop into an offensive unit that ranked as one of the top scoring programs in San Diego County; averaging over 32 points per game. Neale also served as the Strength and Conditioning Coach at Valhalla for four seasons.
As a player, Neale enjoyed a record-setting high school career as a running back and return specialist at Valhalla, which produced a number of honors; including being selected All C.I.F. San Diego Section. Neale continued his career at Grossmont College, receiving all conference recognition as a return specialist. Neale earned his AA degree, and transferred from Grossmont to complete his playing career as a wide receiver at Southwest Missouri State University.
Neale received his BA in History from California State University, San Marcos in 2002. In addition to a successful coaching background, Mike has four years of extensive business experience as a commodities broker and owner of two businesses before selling his brokerage to move to coaching college football on a full time basis.
* Made SCIAC Post Season Tournament
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