On the heels of a 29-0 loss to arch rival Troy Saturday afternoon in the “Battle for the Belt” at Hancock Whitney Stadium, South Alabama Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann announced Sunday head football coach Steve Campbell has been relieved of his duties at the school.
“I met with Coach Campbell this morning and informed him that we will be making a change in the leadership of the program,” Erdman said. “We appreciate and thank Steve and his staff for their efforts on behalf of the team and the university, and wish him and his family the best moving forward.”
The Sun Belt Conference loss to Troy on Saturday ended a 4-7 season for the Jaguars, who lost five of their final six games of the year, including four in a row during that stretch.
In his three seasons at South Alabama, Campbell posted an overall record of 9-26, which included a 6-18 mark in Sun Belt Conference games. His record with the Jags included a 7-11 mark in home games and a 2-15 mark on the road.
Campbell reportedly made $617,400 this year with the Jags and had one year left on his four-year contract.
The buyout for the final year, according to previous media reports by USA Today concerning the contracts of Division I head coaches, is $348,484.
Campbell was the seventh-highest paid head coach in the 10-team Sun Belt, according to the USA Today article published during the summer, trailing Louisiana’s Billy Napier ($1,005,000), Texas State’s Jake Spavital ($802,000), Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson ($787,857), Appalachian State’s Shawn Clark ($750,000), Georgia Southern’s Chad Lunsford ($680,000) and Troy’s Chip Lindsey ($675,000).
The search for a new head coach, who will be the third in the program’s history, following Joey Jones (nine seasons) and Campbell (three seasons), will begin immediately.
This year marked the first season the Jags played their home games on campus at brand new, 25,000-seat Hancock Whitney Stadium. Previously, South Alabama played its home games at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
A lack of consistent offensive punch was especially troublesome for the Jags in the latter part of the season. Saturday’s shutout loss was the first ever for the Jags on their home field and only the second ever in the history of the young program.
Prior to arriving at South Alabama, Campbell coached at several schools and as a head coach was successful. He played at Troy and was part of the school’s 1987 NCAA Division II national championship. His first job was as a graduate assistant at Auburn for Pat Dye (1988-89). He then was hired as offensive line coach at Delta State from 19990-92, serving as offensive coordinator for the 1992 season.
He then was offensive coordinator at Nicholls State (1993-95) and running backs coach at Southwestern Mississippi Community College (1996). Campbell was named head coach at Southwestern Mississippi CC in 1997, posting a 12-8 record in two seasons. He became head coach at Delta State in 1999, producing a 27-8 record in three seasons, including a 14-1 mark in 2000 when the team won the NCAA Division II national title.
Campbell became offensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee (2002) and in 2003 was offensive line coach at Mississippi State.
He was named head coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in 2004 and remained there through the 2013 season, leading the school to the National Junior College Athletic Association national crown in 2007. His overall record at the school was 87-22.
Campbell was then named head coach at Central Arkansas where he compiled a 33-15 record from 2014-17.
He was hired away from Central Arkansas by South Alabama prior to the 2018 season.
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