Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday

Steve Bernstein
Steve Bernstein

Defensive Secondary Coach

3rd Year at Arizona

32nd Year

Steve Bernstein gives the Arizona staff three decades of defensive experience and some long-standing focus on the college football pass coverage game.

UA's secondary should have an improved year with more continuity and direct emphasis this year. The Cats were No. 3 in the Pac-10 in pass defense a year ago and expect to be better.

In 2003, Bernstein regains coaching duties for the entire secondary after working with corners and the free safety uner the Cats' flex system a year ago.

Bernstein's most recent prior assignment before joining John Mackovic's 2001 UA staff as as secondary coach at Louisiana State (1998-89). He has worked with Mackovic at two other major programs, as secondary coach at Texas from 1992-97 and in the same position at Illinois from 1988-91.

Bernstein’s wealth of coaching experience also includes stints at Colorado from 1985-87, at Virginia Tech from 1978 to 1984, at Wake Forest from 1973 to 1977, at Utah State from 1970 to 1972 and with the Quantico Marines in 1969. All were defensive secondary positions.

His experience is known nationally -- he directed a "buzz session" on defensive backs at the American Football Coaches Association convention in New Orleans early this year.

Bernstein has a proven record as an outstanding college recruiter, and contributed heavily in his first two years at Arizona. Earlier, his signees at previous jobs included a slew of University of Texas stars – Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, All-American defensive back Bryant Westbrook, defensive back Taje Allen, quarterback and Southwest Conference MVP James Brown, All-Big XII offensive lineman Ben Adams and All-Big XII defensive lineman Shaun Rogers, a recent second-round NFL selection. UT enjoyed six consecutive top 20-rated recruiting classes with Bernstein as a key player in the process. He also recruited Deon Figures at Colorado, where he was the 1992 Thorpe Award winner.

Among his defensive backs drafted by National Football League teams were Mark Roman from LSU; Westbrook, Allen, Van Malone, Chris Carter and Lance Gunn from Texas; Henry Jones, Chris Green and Filmel Johnson of Illinois; David Tate, Solmon Wilcox, David McLoughan, Mickey Pruitt and Lyle Pickens of Colorado; Ashley Lee of Virginia Tech; and Bill Armstrong of Wake Forest. Raion Hill of LSU signed a free agent contract, as did Mickey Pruitt of Colorado, who played five years in the NFL.

In 1996, Bernstein’s Texas secondary limited opponents to just four touchdown passes, the fewest in the Big XII.

Westbrook and Carter earned first-team All-SWC honors the previous year. Earlier, his work with safety Gunn helped him earn first-team All-America honors, while Malone was an All-SWC pick in 1993.

Bernstein brings outstanding bowl experience to Arizona’s staff. He has coached in 11 bowl games for four different schools, most recently the 1997 Fiesta Bowl while under Mackovic at Texas in the Longhorn’s 8-5 Big XII Championship season. A 1967 graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles, Bernstein was an honorable mention NAIA All-America pick in 1996. Bernstein joined the U.S. Marine Corps and spent three years in the service and was a decorated platoon leader in the Vietnam War. He completed studies for a master’s degree at Utah State in 1972. Five of his Texas players played in the NFL, including first-round pick Bryant Westbrook, second-round pick Van Malone, third-round selection Chris Carter and later round draftees Taje Allen and Lance Gunn. He also recuited UT's star cornerback Quentin Jammer, a first-round pick last April. Bernstein and his wife, Carolyn, have a son, Todd, 32. The Bernstein File

Full Name:Stephen J. Bernstein
Hometown:Bellflower, Calif.
High School:Bellflower High School
College:Occidental College, 1967; Utah State 1972 (master's)
Recruiting Areas:Orange County, San Diego
Bowl Experience:1997 Fiesta, 1995 Sugar, 1994 Sun (with Texas); 1991 Hancock, 1991 Hall of Fame, 1990 Citrus, 1988 All-American (with Illinois); 1986 Bluebonnet, 1985 Freedom (with Colorado); 1985 Independence, 1980 Peach (with Virginia Tech).