Former South Alabama head football coaches Joey Jones and Steve Campbell have been tabbed by new Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett to off-field positions on the Bulldogs’ staff. Joey Jones, the Jaguars’ first head coach, has been named MSU’s director of player personnel, while Campbell, who followed Jones as the Jags’ head coach and held the position for two seasons, has been named the Bulldogs’ director of high school relations.
A third new hire on the MSU staff included Jason Washington as director of player development. All three coaches have held previous on-field positions at Mississippi State, with Jones coaching there from 2018-19, Campbell in 2003 and Washington for 2020-22.
Jones previously served as the Bulldogs' special teams coordinator after nine seasons as head coach at South Alabama where he was hired to build the program. He guided the Jags to 52 victories and two bowl appearances.
Prior to coaching at South Alabama, Jones found success both as a coach and as a player. Before moving into the collegiate ranks, he compiled an impressive 125-38 record in 13 years as a high school coach, including a 10-year run at Birmingham's Mountain Brook High, where he was 101-27 from 1996-2005.
A 1989 graduate of Alabama, Jones became one of the most beloved Crimson Tide players during his tenure as a wideout for the Crimson Tide, which began under the tutelage of legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. He finished his career with 71 receptions, 1,386 yards and 15 touchdowns, ranking fourth on the career touchdown receptions chart and seventh in career receiving yards. In April 2011, Jones was inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.
He was head coach at Birmingham Southern prior to arriving at South Alabama.
Probably Jones’ biggest victory at South Alabama came in the first game of the 2016 season when the Jags traveled to Starkville and beat Dan Mullen-coached Mississippi State 21-20. The Jags scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and held the Bulldogs scoreless in the quarter.
Campbell's impressive coaching résumé includes three national championships as both a player and a coach. A three-time National Coach of the Year, Campbell owns a 168-79 (.680) record across two decades while leading five different institutions including Southwest Mississippi Community College (1997-98), Delta State (1999-2001), Mississippi Gulf Coast CC (2004-13), Central Arkansas (2014-17) and South Alabama (2018-20). In his first 19 seasons as a head coach, Campbell never guided a team that finished with a losing record while compiling a 159-53 overall mark.
That success did not follow Campbell to South Alabama, where his two-year stint produced an overall record of 6-17, including a 4-7 mark in his final season of 2020.
Lagniappe Sports Editor Tommy Hicks has covered sports in Alabama for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) Hall of Fame in 2018 and was named one of the 50 Legends of the ASWA in 2022 and was named the Trou University Hall School of Journalism Print Alumnus of the Year in 2005. He is a past president of the ASWA and the Football Writers Association of America and has won numerous writing awards. He is married to Julie Hicks and they live with Sparky, their Head of Household Security, He has a daughter, Maren.
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