Dave Steckel will enter his 12th season at Missouri as the Tigers' linebacker coach, and the 2012 campaign will be his fourth with the added duties of defensive coordinator - a position he was awarded with by Head Coach Gary Pinkel in February of 2009 following the departure of former coordinator Matt Eberflus to the NFL's Cleveland Browns. In 2011 he also was awarded with the title of associate head coach in the fall.
The Tiger defense played a big role in Mizzou's overall success in 2011, as it ranked 4th in the offense-happy Big 12 Conference in total defense, allowing 380.00 yards per game. The Tiger defense came up big in wins over Texas (247 yards allowed) and Kansas (137), while closing the season in impressive fashion against North Carolina in the Independence Bowl. In MU's 41-24 bowl win, the Tiger defense shackled the Tar Heels and held them to just 36 yards rushing - some 120 yards below their average.
In 2010, Steckel's defense emerged into one of the most improved in the nation last season. Mizzou led the Big 12 Conference, and ranked 6th in the nation, in scoring defense, allowing only 16.08 points per game in the high-scoring Big 12.
Steckel's linebacking corps was decimated by injuries throughout the 2010 season, but that didn't stop his troops from turning in big performances each week. Senior Andrew Gachkar developed into one of the top linebackers in the league, and he was named a 1st-Team All-Big 12 performer, giving Steckel a 1st-Team All-Big 12 linebacker for the fifth-straight year (Sean Weatherspoon - 2007, 2008, 2009). Gachkar ranked second on the team with 84 tackles, just one shy of fellow linebacker Zaviar Gooden, a sophomore who was named honorable-mention All-Big 12 for leading MU with 85 stops in his first year as a starter.
Steckel has consistently produced results with his linebacking corps at Mizzou. He is also a highly-successful recruiter, primarily in the state of Texas. A passionate and enthusiastic teacher of the game of football, Steckel has mentored his linebackers over the years with positive results.
Under Steckel, the Missouri defense followed the fire of its new coordinator in 2009 with an attacking style of play. The Tiger rush defense excelled, thanks to his linebackers and a stout defensive line, and ended the season ranked 26th in the NCAA against the run (118.62 avg.) - that figure is the lowest rushing average allowed in a season by a Tiger defense since the 1983 squad ranked 5th nationally with an average of 97.70 per game.
Sean Weatherspoon concluded his stellar Tiger career by winning 2nd-Team All-American honors, as well as being named a 1st-Team All-Big 12 performer for the third straight year - making him the first Tiger in the Big 12 era to achieve 1st-Team all-league status three times. Weatherspoon ended third on MU's career tackles chart, and was eventually a first-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2010 NFL Draft (number 19 overall selection). Sophomore Will Ebner also emerged as a steady force in the middle of the field, as he earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors for his play, which featured 78 tackles to rank him 3rd on the squad in 2009.
Steckel's group helped lead the Tiger defense in 2008, with junior Sean Weatherspoon commanding the lion's share of attention. "Spoon" turned in a very impressive season that saw him earn 1st-Team All-Big 12 acclaim, as well as 3rd-Team All-American honors, based on his 155 tackles. He was also named a finalist for the prestigious Butkus Award, and he repeated in 2009 as a finalist for the award again.
Weatherspoon was joined in the 100-tackle club in 2008 by senior Brock Christopher, who totaled a career-high 105 stops in his final season in a Tiger uniform. Christopher won honorable-mention All-Big 12 honors for his play for a second straight year in 2008.
Steckel returned to Gary Pinkel's coaching staff in 2001 after spending five seasons as the linebacker and defensive line coach at Rutgers University.
Steckel helped mold James Kinney into a prolific tackler, as he ended his Tiger career by breaking the MU career tackles record (434) during his senior season of 2004. Kinney led MU in stops in 2004, with 112, making him the first player in school history to record three consecutive seasons of 100 or more tackles. He earned 1st-Team All-Big 12 honors for his efforts, and signed a free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2005 NFL Draft.
In his 11 seasons at Mizzou, Steckel has had at least one of his linebackers earn all-league recognition each year, including two each in the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
The 2006 season featured stellar play from senior standouts Marcus Bacon and Dedrick Harrington. Bacon earned 1st-Team All-Big 12 acclaim for his play that featured a team-best 112 tackles. He became MU's first linebacker to win the Big 12 defensive player of the week award since 1997, when he won the award for his play in week two against Ole Miss. Harrington had his best season as a Tiger, as he totaled a career-high 100 stops.
One of MU's top recruiters, Steckel has helped land numerous all-stars for Mizzou, primarily out of the state of Texas. He was responsible for the successful recruitment of Southlake Carroll High School quarterback Chase Daniel, who was named the EA Sports National High School Player of the Year. Daniel lettered as a true freshman at MU in 2005 and just two years later was a Heisman Trophy finalist, finishing fourth in the 2007 Heisman voting. Steckel was able to attend the prestigious ceremony in New York City that December.
Two of Steckel's stars were honored for their play in 2003, as Kinney was named 2nd-Team All-Big 12 by the Associated Press, while Barnes earned Honorable Mention acclaim by both league coaches and media. Barnes impressed enough people that he eventually signed a free agent contract following the 2004 NFL Draft with the Baltimore Ravens, and later played for the Washington Redskins.
At Rutgers, Steckel coached two all-conference defensive linemen from 1996-99, both of whom went on to play in the NFL. In 2000, Steckel moved to coach the linebackers. He served as one of Rutgers' chief recruiters, signing 14 players in his first three seasons.
Before Rutgers, Steckel coached the defensive line for Pinkel at Toledo from 1992-95. He was the defensive line coach during the 1995 undefeated season that went on to win the Las Vegas Bowl. Steckel helped coach a defensive unit that ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference and 12th nationally. One of those players, Dan Williams, was the 11th overall selection in the 1993 NFL Draft.
Steckel served in the United States Marine Corps from 1975-78. He then went on to graduate from Kutztown State College and earned a master's from Miami (Ohio) in 1982.
He is married to the former Mary Beth Thomas of Floyd's Knob, Ind. They have one beautiful daughter named Amanda.