Recruiting Zones : Central Texas (Waco, San Antonio, Austin Areas)Steve Tovar is beginning his second season as the linebackers coach at Kansas after spending the 2006 season as a defensive coaching assistant for the Miami Dolphins under Nick Saban. His talented group of linebackers made his first season on the job both enjoyable and very successful.
A trio of juniors comprised Tovar's starting linebacker corps last fall. That group, which all earned All-Big 12 recognition, returns for 2008. They were headlined by Joe Mortensen, who led the Kansas defense with 106 total tackles in 2007 and was rewarded with All-Big First Team accolades. Mike Rivera added 96 tackles for the Jayhawks and was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection for his efforts on the field. He was also an All-Big 12 Academic First Team honoree. Last, but not least of the linebackers was James Holt, another All-Big 12 Honorable Mention recipient who had 99 tackles on the season. Tovar's linebackers helped make the Kansas defense one of the best in both the Big 12 Conference as well as the nation in 2007.
Before working with the Dolphins, Tovar spent two seasons working at the United States Military Academy (2004-05), coaching the linebackers under Bobby Ross. While at Army, he worked closely with All-Conference USA linebacker Greg Washington, who led the nation in tackles. He also worked as defensive coordinator at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio.
A native of Elyria, Ohio, Tovar also worked for The Ohio State Athletic Compliance Office in 2002-03, where he consulted student-athletes on issues pertaining to professional athletics, organized recruiting 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 program in 2003 as quality control/video intern with the primary duties of evaluating defensive player performance and assisting defensive coaches with game plans.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Tovar enjoyed a successful eight-year playing career in the NFL. A third-round selection by Cincinnati in 1993, Tovar played five years with the Bengals (1993-97), two seasons with the San Diego Chargers (1998, 2000) and one with the Carolina Panthers (1999).
Tovar officially retired in 2001, having served as Cincinnati's defensive team captain throughout his tenure with the team and leading the club in tackles during three of his five seasons. He also was the Chargers' special teams player of the year for both of his seasons with the club.
A graduate of Ohio State, Tovar played in Columbus from 1989-92, finishing fourth in OSU history with 414 tackles, including 213 solo stops and 31 tackles for loss. Tovar was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year his senior year after recording 128 total tackles and was a three time All-Big Ten pick and two-time American Football Coaches Association All-American (1991, 92). For his efforts, Tovar was enshrined into The Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.