How Steven King’s coaching journey to the NFL is a testament to faith and hard work
LAS VEGAS – Steven King has always had a passion for coaching, even in his early childhood.
The Hempstead, NY native stood in front of his TV screen and acted out scripts as a coach during a live football game. He was a football addict and naturally gifted between the white lines. King’s devotion to the sport he fell in love with as youth gave way to many open doors.
King continued to walk confidently through them, turning a successful prep and college football career into a new life as a coach. He worked his way up, from community college to an NFL team. He spent last season on the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, working as an assistant special teams coach.
King received positive reviews for his efforts in 2022, enough to be rewarded with a chance to be Special Teams Coordinator for this week’s Shrine Bowl. The Falcons’ coaching staff leads the East team, with regular-season boss Marquice Williams serving as head coach.
This honor marks a great distance from its starting point.
After graduating from Uniondale High School, King traveled 403 miles to upstate New York and attended the University at Buffalo on a full football scholarship. King played for the Bulls, leading the team in rushing touchdowns in his last three seasons on campus. Not to mention he was a four-year-old man of letters and team captain.
When his college football career ended, King knew he wanted to stay close to the game he fell in love with as a kid.
“You know, obviously your athletic talent can fade at some point,” King told AtlantaFalcons.com, “but it allows you to be close to the game and be around brothers and friends.”
He landed his first coaching job as a running backs and defensive backs coach at East Meadow High School, where he coached for four years. The coaching grind isn’t easy and not for everyone, but King maintained tunnel vision to achieve a dream he knew would manifest.
As he rose through the coaching ranks, King worked at Nassau Community College (wide receivers coach), Wagner College (assistant fullbacks), University of Nevada Reno (graduate assistant), Bucknell University ( assistant wide receivers coach) at Oakland. Raiders (Bill Walsh Diversity Fellow) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel (Special Teams Quality Control Coach).
“Everyone’s journey is different,” King said. “I started in high school, middle school, and college, but I think every stage has been great in terms of growth and development and I think it didn’t stop there. You know, as a coach, my expectations are always to be the best I can be in whatever job I do, so I want to keep growing every day as much as possible.
Midway through the 2022 offseason, the Falcons called King to offer him a position as diversity coach with the special teams unit. For him, it was a moment of clarity that affirmed that he was on the right track. And while he was more than thrilled to join Atlanta, he lives by the 24-hour rule.
“You’re excited by the opportunity, but you don’t [just] want to have the opportunity, you want to excel in this opportunity,” King said. “So it was just back to business, get to work. And I try to learn as much as I can, as soon as I can.”
And now, nearly a year later, King will coach as special teams coordinator in the East-West Shrine game. His first bowling match of his career.
“Any time you get a chance to go out there and coach, it’s a chance to improve,” King said. “My goal is really to be the best I can be right now with the opportunities that present themselves.”