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|Born:||July 1, 1946|
Les Steckel (born July 1, 1946) was the 3rd head coach of the Minnesota Vikings in 1984. He has also worked as an assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Steckel was born in Whitehall, Pennsylvania and attended the University of Kansas, where he was a Golden Gloves boxing champion and graduated in 1968 with a triple degree in social work, human relations, and political science. He volunteered on the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign that year with Rosie Grier.
Steckel joined the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff as the receivers coach in 1979 and remained an assistant coach through the 1983 season. He was promoted to head coach of the Vikings for the 1984 season after longtime coach Bud Grant retired. As a coach with a military background, Steckel emphasized discipline. He was fired after one season, in which the team posted a 3–13 record. He was succeeded by Grant, who briefly came out of retirement to fill the post.
He later worked as an assistant coach or coordinator with the New England Patriots from 1985 to 1988, then with Brown University in 1989, followed by another two years at the University of Colorado from 1991 to 1992. He returned to the NFL with the Denver Broncos from 1993 to 1994, followed by five years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, where he helped lead them to Super Bowl XXXIV as Offensive Coordinator. In a surprise move, Steckel left the Titans just three weeks later to become Offensive Coordinator of Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000. The result was the Bucs' highest-scoring season ever, a 10–6 record, and a trip to the playoffs. Despite his transformation of the team's offense, Steckel's drill sergeant approach to coaching was a poor fit for the Tampa Bay franchise. Less than one year on the job, he was fired after the Bucs lost 21–3 to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Wild Card Game. His final year of professional coaching was with the Buffalo Bills in 2003. He became president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on March 1, 2005 after taking time off to coach his son's high school team. During his one year of coaching at the high school, the team won the Tennessee state high school championship.
He is married to the former Chris Picket and they have three children - Lesley, a graduate of Baylor University; Luke, who played football at Princeton University and is currently an offensive coach with the Tennessee Titans; and Christian, also a Baylor graduate, is lead sports anchor for WAPT-TV, the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi, and works college basketball games for ESPNU. Les's brother, Dave Steckel, is the former head coach of the Missouri State Bears football team and previously served under Gary Pinkel at Missouri. Dave most notably served as the defensive coordinator for the team when they won back-to-back SEC East championships in 2013 and 2014.
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Categories: 1946 births | Living people | Colorado Buffaloes football coaches | Denver Broncos coaches | Houston Oilers coaches | Kansas Jayhawks football players | Minnesota Vikings coaches | Minnesota Vikings head coaches | New England Patriots coaches | San Francisco 49ers coaches | Tennessee Titans coaches | Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaches | Quantico Marines Devil Dogs football players | National Football League offensive coordinators | United States Marine Corps colonels | Players of American football from Pennsylvania | Leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes | United States Marine Corps reservists | United States Marine Corps personnel of the Vietnam War