LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Steve Tovar, a former All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year, has been named linebackers coach at the University of Kansas, Head Football Coach Mark Mangino announced Wednesday.
Tovar arrives in Lawrence after a serving as a defensive coaching assistant for the Miami Dolphins during the past season under Head Coach Nick Saban.
“Steve coaches with the same drive and intensity he displayed as a player,” Mangino said. “He’s very bright and will be an excellent teacher of schemes and fundamentals. We are very pleased to have him join our staff.”
Tovar enjoyed an eight-year professional career after being selected in the third round of the 1993 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. In all, he played inside linebacker five years with the Bengals (1993-97), two years with the San Diego Chargers (1998, 2000) and one year with the Carolina Panthers (1999) before retiring as a player in 2001.
He served as Cincinnati’s defensive team captain throughout his tenure with the Bengals, leading the club in tackles during three of his five years. He also shouldered responsibilities as the NFL Players’ Association representative for Cincinnati in 1995 and 1996. During his two years in San Diego, Tovar was selected as the team’s special teams player of the year, served as a member of the NFL’s top-ranked run defense and remained active in implementing leadership and team building skills.
Tovar played linebacker for The Ohio State University from 1989 to 1992 where he led the Buckeyes in tackles his final three seasons in Columbus, becoming only the second player in the storied history of the OSU program to accomplish the feat. He still ranks fourth in OSU history with 414 career tackles including 239 solo hits and 31 tackles for loss. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year his senior year after recording 128 total tackles. A team co-captain as a senior, Tovar was a three-time All-Big Ten pick and a two-time American Football Coaches Association All-American selection (1991, 1992). He was enshrined in the The Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Prior to his work with the Dolphins, Tovar spent two seasons at the United States Military Academy where he coached the Army Black Knights linebackers in 2004 and 2005 under Head Coach Bobby Ross. During his first season at the Academy, he worked closely with All-Conference USA linebacker Greg Washington who led the nation in tackles. Before working at Army, Tovar was Defensive Coordinator at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio.
Upon obtaining his degree in recreation education from Ohio State in 2002, Tovar was a consultant in the Ohio State Athletic Compliance Office in 2002-2003 where he consulted student-athletes on issues pertaining to professional athletics, organized recruitment events regarding professional athletics, presented NCAA rules and regulations to student-athletes and assisted in the department’s agent education program. He joined the OSU football staff in 2003 as Quality Control/Video intern with the primary duties of evaluating defensive player performance and assisting defensive coaches with game plans.