Former Ashland University football player Todd Stepsis has been named the head football coach at NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Drake.
"I cannot express how excited, appreciative and honored I am to be the next head football coach at Drake University," Stepsis said in a Drake press release. "I've been fortunate for 20 years to have a job that doesn't feel like work and these past five years have taken my love of coaching football and mentoring young men to a whole new level. Our student-athletes, coaches and University are so special and I can't wait to get back from break so we can get after it."
Stepsis was a wide receiver and quarterback for the Eagles in the late 1990s. As a senior in 1998, he caught 14 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in 10 games. Stepsis graduated with magna cum laude honors from Ashland University in 1999 with a degree in special education, and also received a master's degree from Ashland in sport education.
Drake's defensive coordinator the last five seasons, Stepsis, 41, has coached 42 all-conference players. In 2018, the Bulldogs ranked ninth in D-I FCS in scoring defense (19.1 ppg.), ninth in total defense (296.0 ypg.), sixth in rushing defense (96.8 ypg.), 10th in interceptions (17), 10th in tackles for loss (8.1 per game) and 15th in defensive touchdowns (three).
In 2017, Stepsis' defense led the Pioneer Football League in total defense (335.3 ypg.), pass defense (199.7 ypg.) and first downs (18.0 per game), and finished second in sacks with 27.
Prior to coming to Drake, Stepsis was the defensive coordinator at one of AU's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rivals, Saginaw Valley State, for six seasons. With the Cardinals, Stepsis coached 37 all-conference players. Stepsis' coaching resume also includes an eight-year stint as an assistant at NCAA Division III Capital, and before that, the start of his coaching career at Division III Otterbein.
Coaching is in Stepsis' blood. His father, Ron, was an assistant coach for Ashland for both College Football Hall of Famer Dr. Fred Martinelli and Ashland University Hall of Famer Gary Keller. Stepsis' younger brother, Toby, also played football at Ashland.
In 2018, Drake went 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the PFL, good for a tie for second place in the conference standings.
Stepsis formally will be introduced as Drake's 27th head football coach at a press conference after the school's holiday break.
"Todd distinguished himself from an incredible applicant pool because of his familiarity with our program and the vision he shared for the future of Drake football," Drake director of athletics Brian Hardin said in a university press release. "Todd has directed the best defense in our league for many years, but he has also consistently developed the young men in our program academically, socially, and mentally. Todd has been an excellent fit at Drake and I look forward to seeing the heights to which he will lead our program."