Les Steckel

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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.

Early years[edit]

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.

He then enlisted in the Marines and served in Vietnam as infantry. He recently retired from USMC Reserves after thirty years of service with the rank of Colonel.

After his return from Vietnam in 1970, Steckel was stationed in Quantico, Virginia, where he played football for the Quantico Marines football team until 1971. He joined the USMC Reserves in 1972.

Coaching career[edit]

Steckel then worked as an assistant football coach at the University of Colorado from 1973 to 1976. He was an assistant at Navy in 1977, then an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 1978.

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.[1] He was succeeded by Grant, who briefly came out of retirement to fill the post.[2]

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, then two years with the Denver Broncos from 1993 to 1994, followed by five years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, then a year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2000) where he served as offensive coordinator and posted a Buccaneers team record 388 points in a season, and a year with the Buffalo Bills (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.

Personal life[edit]

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;[3] 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 head coach of the Missouri State Bears football team and previously served under Gary Pinkel at Missouri.[4] Dave most notably served as the defensive coordinator for the team when they won back-to-back SEC East championships in 2013 and 2014.

Head coaching record[edit]


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIN 1984 3 13 0 .188
MIN Total 3 13 0 .188
Total 3 13 0 .188


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mike Shula
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Clyde Christensen