Steve Campbell is South Alabama’s new football coach, the school announced Thursday.
The 51-year-old Campbell has spent the last four seasons as head coach at Central Arkansas, where he posted a 33-15 record. His Bears went 10-2 this season and won the Southland Conference championship.
“When the search began we identified the experience, qualities and characteristics we were looking for. We searched for a leader who has demonstrated success and possesses a vision for the program with the plan to communicate and achieve that vision,” South Alabama athletics director Joel Erdmann said. “As the search progressed, it became clear that Coach Campbell had what we were looking for. He became the primary target and accepted the offer. He is a proven college head football coach who has achieved consistent success in various settings with different programs. Coach Campbell possesses coaching expertise, high school and junior college recruiting relationships, and a contagious passion for the game of football. He is well-respected by his peers and at the core of his identify is a man of character and deep values.
“I am proud and excited to have Steve as the leader of our program, and look forward to working together to achieve great things.”
Campbell is a Pensacola native who played his college football at Troy, where he was starting center on the Trojans’ 1987 Division II national championship team. He got his coaching start the following year as a graduate assistant at Auburn under Pat Dye.
Campbell then was an assistant coach at Delta State, Nicholls State and Southwest Mississippi Community College before taking over as head coach at Southwest in 1997. After two years at SWCC, he became head coach at Division II Delta State in 1999.
His 2000 DSU team went 14-1 and won the national championship, earning him Division II national coach of the year honors. From there he was offensive line coach/offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State for a year, then offensive line coach at Mississippi State for a year.
Campbell took over at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2004, going 87-22 in 10 seasons. His 2007 team, led by future SEC standouts such as Terrence Cody (Alabama), Demond Washington (Auburn) and Chris White (Mississippi State), went undefeated and shared the NJCAA championship.
Campbell replaces Joey Jones, who went 52-50 in nine seasons with the Jaguars after starting the program from scratch in 2008. Jones resigned at the end of the 2017 season, when USA finished 4-8.
“I was born and raised in this area, just down the road outside of Pensacola, and have always felt that if South Alabama started football it would be a gold mine, a place where the sky is the limit and you can definitely compete for championships at the highest level,” said Campbell. “Coach Jones did a terrific job of getting the program started and laying a tremendous foundation. This is an opportunity to get back home and, more than that, to take what Joey has started and raise it to the next level and win some championships.”