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South Alabama tags Steve Campbell as its next head coach

The 51-year-old went 33-15 in four seasons at Central Arkansas.

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-South Alabama vs Air Force
The next chapter can officially begin in Mobile.
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

South Alabama’s coaching search is officially over in Mobile after a few weeks of speculation. Hot shot FBS coordinators such as Jake Spavital and Chip Lindsey were linked to the opening, but it appears South Alabama decided to dip into the FCS ranks. Per Football Scoop, athletic director Joel Erdmann has picked Steve Campbell to become the second head coach in program history.

As mentioned in our previous post about the South Alabama job opening, Campbell has significant ties to Alabama and the Mississippi junior college system that the Jags consistently pulled players from during the Joey Jones era.

Campbell served as a head coach at two Mississippi JUCOs (Southwest Mississippi and Mississippi Gulf Coast) for a combined 12 years. During the stint at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Campbell won coach of the year honors as well as bringing home a national title in 2007. Campbell would see multiple players transfer and move on to the FBS level as he notched an 87-22 record.

Before the stint at Mississippi Gulf Coast and the after the two years at Southwest Mississippi, Campbell ran the Delta State program from 1999-2001 in Division II. There, Campbell posted a 27-8 overall record including a national championship in 2000.

After spending a decade at Mississippi Gulf Coast, Campbell took the FCS job at Central Arkansas. In four years, the Bears would go 33-15 and make two FCS Playoff appearances. Central Arkansas recorded double-digit wins in his final two seasons as he built one of the best programs in the FCS. The Bears won two Southland Conference titles under Campbell and had the best season in program history in 2017. In 2016, Central Arkansas went on the road and beat an Arkansas State team that would go on to win the Sun Belt.

At Central Arkansas, Campbell used a 3-4 defensive scheme and got some really good quarterback play. Campbell has shown some offensive versatility in his career as he instituted a pro-style scheme at Central Arkansas after using a no-huddle spread at Mississippi Gulf Coast and the triple-option at Delta State.

Campbell played his college ball at Troy and has spent his entire coaching career in the south. He has some deep ties that will allow South Alabama to recruit the Mississippi junior colleges at a high level. If Campbell can get into the Alabama high schools, the talent should flock to Mobile.

Cambell is now the third FCS head coach to make the jump to the Sun Belt in the last last three years. Drop in the comments and let us know what you think of the hire.