MSU names Steckel as coach

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bears steal Tigers' defensive coordinator


SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri State University has named Dave Steckel as its 20th head football coach on Sunday.

MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats and President Clifton (Clif) M. Smart III announced the hire of the University of Missouri associate head coach and defensive coordinator. The hire concludes a national search that began Nov. 23.

Steckel's five-year agreement will include a base salary of $270,000, including compensation for radio and television shows. The contract, which will be formally approved by the Missouri State Board of Governors at its next scheduled meeting Jan. 21, also includes performance incentives.

Steckel earned $600,000 at Mizzou this season.

"It's not about the money," Steckel said. "If I was worried about the money, I'd still be at Mizzou."

Steckel spoke to a capacity crowd at the Prime Overtime Club room at the JQH Arena.

"We are going to go on a journey and we are going to build this program with integrity," Steckel said. "It's about the relationship with players, it's about building lives, and it's about taking care of each other."

Steckel has spent the last 14 seasons with the Tigers and was the only defensive coach among the five finalists for the 2014 Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach. He has helped produce a total of 15 all-conference linebacker selections at MU, including a number players who have forged professional careers in the National Football League.

"His reputation within the industry is impeccable, and he has a proven track record of success," said Moats. "He has coached and recruited in the toughest league in America. His defenses have been at the top of the Big 12, SEC and national rankings in many statistical categories. With him, a new attitude and culture begins today."

Under Steckel's tutelage, Missouri's defense has been a driving force in the Tigers' back-to-back Southeastern Conference East Division titles in 2013 and 2014. MU leads the SEC and ranks 10th nationally in sacks per game through its first 13 games of 2014. The Tiger defense finished first or second in every major statistical category in SEC play this fall en route to propelling Mizzou to its fifth conference divisional championship in the last eight seasons.

This season, MU ranks 23rd in the country in total defense and 26th in scoring defense and has posted top 15 national rankings in both sacks and tackles for loss in each of the last two years. The Tigers led the league in total defense (300.8 yds/game) in conference play.

Steckel, 57, joined Gary Pinkel's coaching staff at MU in 2001 after spending five seasons as a defensive line and linebackers coach at Rutgers University. With the Scarlet Knights, Steckel coached a pair of All-Big East performers, both of whom went on to play in the NFL. He also served as one of Rutgers' primary recruiters, inking 14 players in his first three seasons at the institution.

A Fullerton, Pa., native, Steckel served as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Dickinson College from 1986-90, and made a brief stop in the FCS ranks at Lehigh University before heading to Toledo. He broke into the collegiate coaching ranks with graduate assistantships at Miami (Ohio) and the Minnesota that sandwiched an assignment as defensive line coach at Ball State.

Steckel, the younger brother of longtime NFL coach Les Steckel, served in the United States Marine Corps from 1975-78. He then went on to graduate from Kutztown University (1982) and later earned a master's degree from Miami (Ohio). He and his wife, Mary Beth, have one daughter, Amanda.

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