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Here’s where a former Gulf Coast football coach is headed

Former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football coach Steve Campbell is expected to become the next South Alabama coach.
Former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football coach Steve Campbell is expected to become the next South Alabama coach. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Former Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football Steve Campbell will become the next head football coach at South Alabama.

South Alabama made the announcement Thursday and will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Friday to officially introduce Campbell as the school’s next football coach. The Pensacola native succeeds Joey Jones, who stepped down after a 4-8 campaign.

“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,” Campbell said in a release.

“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.”

South Alabama Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann praised the leadership and vision of Campbell, who left Central Arkansas to take the position.

“Coach Campbell possesses coaching expertise, high school and junior college recruiting relationships, and a contagious passion for the game of football,” Erdmann said. “He is well-respected by his peers and at the core of his identify is a man of character and deep values.”

Campbell was the Bulldogs’ head coach from 2004 to 2013. During that time, Campbell went 87-22 in 10 seasons and won a share of the NJCAA national championship in 2007. His son, Steven Jr., is the athletic director at Gulf Coast.

This year, Campbell led UCA to a 10-2 record and the Southland Conference title. The Bears were eliminated from the FCS playoffs last weekend. He went 33-15 in four seasons at UCA.

Campbell, 51, is known as a winner at mostly every level he’s competed or coached. Campbell was the starting center on Troy’s Division II national title team in 1987.

At Delta State, Campbell won a Division II national title in 2000. He was the Statesmen’s head coach from 1999 to 2001. He spent the 2003 season as Mississippi State’s offensive line coach.

FootballScoop.com was the first to report the news Thursday. The website also reported that Austin Peay head coach Will Healy, Florida receivers coach Billy Gonzales and Auburn offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey all were also candidates for the South Alabama job.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

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