South Alabama hires Central Arkansas' Steve Campbell

South Alabama went 4-8 in 2017. (Getty)

South Alabama’s next coach is coming from the FCS ranks.

The Jaguars announced Thursday that Central Arkansas coach Steve Campbell would be the team’s new head coach. Joey Jones, the Jaguars’ coach in 2017, resigned effective at the end of the season.

“When the search began we identified the experience, qualities and characteristics we were looking for.  We searched for a leader who has demonstrated success and possesses a vision for the program with the plan to communicate and achieve that vision,” South Alabama athletic director Joel Erdmann said.  “As the search progressed, it became clear that Coach Campbell had what we were looking for. He became the primary target and accepted the offer. ”

Central Arkansas was upset in the first round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday by New Hampshire. In four seasons at UCA, Campbell compiled a record of 33-15. The team went 9-0 and won the Southland Conference in 2017.

Campbell, 51, is just the team’s second head coach. Jones had been with USA since the school’s first football season in 2009. 

“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.  “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 has been a member of the Sun Belt since 2012 and finished 4-8 in 2017. The team went to the Arizona Bowl in 2016 after a 6-6 season and lost 45-21 to Air Force.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!