|Position:||Assistant Coach - Defensive Backs|
|Alma Mater:||Pittsburg State|
Travis Stepps will begin his third season at the University of North Dakota in 2018 and transition to coaching the cornerbacks after working with the safeties during his first two seasons.
Senior Chuck Flowers emerged as one of the team's top tacklers under Stepps' guidance, finishing with 72 total tackles in his first season as a starter. Flowers, who also shared the team lead with two interceptions, also helped fill a void in the secondary that saw returning All-Americans Cole Reyes (three games) and Deion Harris (zero games) combine to miss a majority of the 2017 campaign.
In his first season as the Fighting Hawks' defensive backs coach in 2016, Stepps helped Reyes and Harris collect those All-America honors after the duo helped UND record 20 interceptions in 2016 -- a total that tied for second in the FCS. Reyes was also named the FCS ADA Defensive Back of the Year and Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year, helping a unit rank among the tops in the Big Sky in scoring defense (1st; 22.0 ppg), rush defense (91.3 ypg) and total defense (2nd; 355.2 ypg).
The Fort Scott, Kan., native arrived in Grand Forks following a 12-year stint at Southern Illinois, which included eight seasons under former UND head coach Dale Lennon. Stepps is also quite familliar with UND head coach Bubba Schweigert, who was the defensive coordinator at SIU for six of those seasons, while Stepps was the defensive backs coach in Carbondale.
During his dozen seasons at SIU, Stepps worked with several different defensive groups, including the linemen, outside linebackers and defensive backs. Under his watch, 13 SIU players earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors and Craig Turner and Korey Lindsey earned All-America honors.
After Schweigert's departure, Stepps switched position groups and worked with the outside linebackers in 2014 and 2015.
In 2009, the Saluki defense was second nationally with 23 interceptions. Stepps' defensive backs also returned 12 interceptions for touchdowns throughout his coaching tenure in Carbondale.
Prior to joining the Southern Illinois coaching staff, Stepps spent two seasons on the staff at Washburn University. As a player, he was a two-time All-American defensive back at Pittsburg State. He earned a bachelor's degree in social studies and education from Pittsburg State and a master's degree in sports management from Southern Illinois.
He and his wife, Kristina were married following the 2012 football season.
-- UND --