On Dec. 14, 2014, MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats and President Clif M. Smart III announced the hire of former University of Missouri associate head coach and defensive coordinator Dave Steckel as Missouri States 20th head football coach.
Stec has 33 years of coaching experience, including the last 14 seasons with the Tigers. He was the only defensive coach among the five finalists for the 2014 Frank Broyles Award as the nations top assistant coach. He has helped produce a total of 15 all-conference linebacker selections at MU, including a number of players who have forged professional careers in the National Football League.
Under Stecs tutelage, Missouris defense has been a driving force in the Tigers back-to-back Southeastern Conference East Division titles in 2013 and 2014. MU led the SEC and ranked 10th nationally in sacks per game in 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.
MU also ranked 23rd in the country in total defense and 19th in scoring defense last season, while the Tigers led the SEC in total defense (300.8 yds/game).
Defensive Coordinator (Cornerbacks)
Yokeley joins the MSU staff after spending a total of six years over two separate stints at Lindenwood University, including the last three as the Lions defensive line coach. The Marshall, Mo., product led a unit that produced five All-MIAA defensive line honorees since his return to the program in 2012. Prior to that, Yokeley served as defensive coordinator at Avila in 2011, helping the Eagles lower their scoring defense by nearly 10 points per game. Working with the Eagles defensive backs, he tutored the schools first All-American safety, Tyler Cardwell.
A former all-conference defensive back for Truman State, Yokeley was a two-time team captain for the Bulldogs before earning his undergraduate degree in psychology from the school in 2006. He worked on the Lindenwood staff from 2006 through the 2008 seasons, serving in a variety of capacities, including defensive secondary coach, special teams coordinator and assistant head coach while earning his masters degree in education with an emphasis in strength and conditioning. In his first two years as a full-time assistant, the Lions went 21-4, captured the HAAC title in 2007 and advanced to the NAIA playoffs each season. Yokeley then joined Gary Pinkels Missouri staff as a graduate assistant, working on both sides of the ball and assisting with the coordination of the Tigers camps, film evaluation and scouting operations.
“Marcus is one of the brightest up-and-coming coaches out there,” head coach Dave Steckel added. “From our experience working together in Columbia, I know hes familiar with our system and what we expect out of our players, and Im looking forward to having him lead our defense.”
Co-Offensive Coordinator (Quarterbacks)
Mack Brown will work with the Bears tight ends and oversee the MSU special teams following a three-year stay as a graduate assistant at Missouri. He started as a recruiting GA before expanding his role with the Tigers coaching staff. He moved into the role of offensive quality control graduate assistant prior to the 2012 season, assisting the Mizzou offensive staff with the development and implementation of offensive schemes and scouting evaluations, as well as the execution of various administrative duties. For the past two seasons, Brown has worked with the Tigers tight ends as an offensive graduate assistant, helping MU post dramatic statistical improvements in numerous offensive categories and two straight Southeastern Conference East Division championships.
After earning his bachelors degree in education from Baker University, Brown began his coaching career as an assistant coach at William Jewell College, working with the Cardinals wideouts during the 2010 season. He also served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Lawrence (Kan.) High School the following fall before beginning his graduate coaching experience at MU. As a player, Brown was a first-team All-HAAC performer in 2008 and a three-time NAIA Academic All-American for Baker, leading the Wildcats to their first NAIA playoff berth in 15 years. The Overland Park, Kan., product also completed a masters degree in health, physical education and recreation from Emporia State in 2011.
Co-Offensive Coordinator (Offensive Line)
Sean CoughlinClick here to hear it is in his 10th season at Missouri State and directs the Bears offensive line.
Coughlin came to Missouri State from Iowa State where he worked as a graduate assistant and offensive line assistant. He worked with the Bears tight ends and fullbacks his first two years and took over offensive line coaching duties in 2008.
Over the last eight seasons, Coughlins linemen have earned MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors 12 times with nine all-conference selections and three NFL players. David Arkin, a 2011 Dallas Cowboys fourth-round selection, is still active with the Indianapolis Colts.
Peter Badovinac (pronounced buh-DOE-vuh-nack) joins the MSU staff as linebackers coach after spending the past two years working at Missouri, where he helped the Tigers to a 22-5 overall record and back-to-back SEC East titles. He began his MU tenure as a recruiting graduate assistant, working to develop and implement the Tigers recruiting plans. He moved into the role of defensive graduate assistant prior to the start of the 2013 season, assisting Steckel with oversight of the MU linebackers and the coordination of the Tigers day-to-day practice preparations and scouting operations.
Badovinac joined the Missouri staff following the completion of his own playing career as a quarterback at Michigan State, where he was a part of the Spartans 2010 Big Ten championship team. The Inverness, Ill., native started his collegiate career at FCS member Drake University, picking up Pioneer League Academic Honor Roll recognition in 2008. He earned his undergraduate degree in general business from Michigan State in 2012 and completed his masters program in education and school counseling at MU this fall.
Another new Bear with ties to the Missouri program, Kenji Jackson will oversee the development of the MSU safeties after completing the 2014 season as a defensive graduate assistant at Northwestern. This past fall, four defenders earned All-Big Ten honors for the Wildcats, who finished 5-7. Over the previous two seasons, Jackson worked as a recruiting and quality control graduate assistant at Mizzou following the completion of his playing career in 2011. He assisted the MU coaching staff with its recruiting operations, video preparation and scouting analysis, helping MU post a program-record 12 wins and claim both the SEC East title and a Cotton Bowl victory en route to a No. 5 final AP ranking in 2013.
As a standout defensive back for the Tigers, Jackson was a two-year starter at safety and team captain as a senior, capping his career with an honorable mention All-Big 12 citation. A contributor on bowl teams in each of his four seasons, he earned Academic All-Big 12 recognition in 2009, as well as the teams Inspirational Player of the Year honor in 2011. He completed his undergraduate degree in interpersonal communications in just three and a half years before earning a graduate degree from MU in educational and counseling psychology.
“Kenji is another sharp, young coach who knows our system inside and out,” head coach Dave Steckel said. “Hes a former All-Big 12 performer who brings a ton of enthusiasm, which I know will help him relate well with our players and be an effective recruiter.”
Tight Ends / Special Teams
Justin Kramer joined the Missouri State coaching staff on May 8, 2015 as the programs new assistant coach for tight ends and special teams.
The native of Liberty, Mo., was a four-year letterman at Southern Illinois University from 2002-05 where the standout offensive lineman was part of three Saluki NCAA playoff teams and three Missouri Valley Football Conference titles at the Carbondale school. He later spent 2008-12 as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State before joining Gary Pinkels staff at Missouri where he has worked since 2012.
He was a key defensive analyst for the Tigers and worked under Stec who was defensive coordinator for Mizzou at the time. Kramer was also the assistant director of recruiting during his tenure at Missouri.read more
Morton will work with the MSU defensive lineman after spending the last two seasons on University of Wisconsin-Stouts staff following a two-year graduate assistant stint at Missouri. Under Mortons guidance, a pair of Blue Devils have garnered All-WIAC recognition in each of his two years in Menomonie, including 2014 All-West Region honoree Jamie Rohrig. Before joining the UW-Stout program, the Norfolk, Neb., native spent a total of four years in Columbia, where he worked as a compliance coordinator for two years before his initial coaching experience as a defensive graduate assistant under Steckel. In that role, he worked with the MU defensive line, linebackers and safeties, helping the Tigers go 8-5 in a 2011 season that culminated in an Independence Bowl victory over North Carolina.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Morton starred at center for South Dakota, earning first-team AFCA All-America honors in 2007 after claiming the 2006 Rimington Award for Division II. He was honored with USDs Dr. John Van Why Athletic Department outstanding male athlete award and graduated with his bachelors degree in accounting in 2007. Morton then worked as an auditor for the Missouri Attorney Generals office before heading to Mizzou, where he earned his masters degree in health education and promotion.
“I worked with Chris during his time at Mizzou, so I know what an exceptional job hes capable of doing,” said head coach Dave Steckel. “His playing experience as a Division II Rimington Award winner and his track record of success in developing defensive linemen speak volumes about the kind of coach he can be here.”
Munir Prince (first name pronounced muh-NEAR) comes to Springfield after a brief stint as an assistant coach at Drake University, where he coached the Bulldogs interior receivers. The St. Louis native worked as an account executive for Drake IMG Sports Marketing for one year before joining the DU coaching staff this past summer. Prince, who will work with the Bears running backs, earned two degrees from Missouri, finishing his bachelors degree in business management in 2010, before completing an MBA program while assisting Gary Pinkels coaching staff as an offensive quality control graduate assistant.
As a player, Prince was a part of two Big 12 North Division championship teams and three bowl-qualifying squads during his own playing career as a defensive back for the Tigers. He began his career at Notre Dame, playing in 20 total games as a running back and defensive back during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
“Munir is an extremely bright young coach who not only played for us, but also got his start in coaching with our staff in Columbia,” head coach Dave Steckel added. “Hes been able to go out and gain a new perspective at Drake, and were looking forward to having him on board here at Missouri State.”
Jason Ray joined the Bears in January 2016 as wide receivers coach after previous coaching stops at Wyoming (2009-12), Oklahoma State (2013-14) and fellow Missouri Valley Football Conference member UNI (2015).
This past fall, the Porter, Okla., native helped guide UNI to a 9-5 mark, a third-place finish in the MVFC and an NCAA Division I FCS Quarterfinal berth. Ray, who coached the Panther wide receivers, helped guide a balanced offense that ranked fourth in the Valley in scoring (29.5 points per game) and featured seven different players who reached double-figures in receptions on the year. UNI posted six wins over Top 25 opponents in reaching the quarterfinal round of the FCS Playoffs for the 13th time in school history.
“Jason Ray has a wealth of knowledge and experience and that has been evident in his playing and coaching career,” Bears head coach Dave Steckel noted. “He has been successful at every stop as a coach at Wyoming, Oklahoma State, and most-recently UNI. He has great intensity, enthusiasm and knowledge and will be a great addition to our offensive staff.”
Adam Lang – Strength & Conditioning Coach