LAS VEGAS – Steven King always had a passion to coach, even in his early childhood days.
The Hempstead, N.Y., native would stand in front of his television screen and act out scenarios as a coach during a live football game. He was a football junkie and naturally gifted in between the white lines. King's devotion to the sport he fell in love with as youth gave way to many open doors.
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King kept walking confidently through them, turning a prosperous prep and college football career into a new life in coaching. He has worked his way through the ranks, from a community college all the way to an NFL team. He spent last season in the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, working as an assistant special teams coach.
King earned positive reviews for his 2022 efforts, enough to be rewarded with a chance to be a special teams coordinator for this week's Shrine Bowl. The Falcons coaching staff is running the East team, with his regular-season boss Marquice Williams acting as head coach.
That honor marks a great distance from where he started.
After graduating from Uniondale High School, King traveled 403 miles to Upstate New York and attended the University of Buffalo on a full-ride football scholarship. King starred for the Bulls, leading the team in rushing touchdowns in his last three seasons on campus. Not to mention, he was a four-year letterman and team captain.
Following the conclusion of his collegiate football career, King knew he wanted to stay close to the game he fell in love with as kid.
"You know, obviously, your athletic talent may fade away at a certain point," King told AtlantaFalcons.com, "but it allows you to be close to the game and around fellow brothers and friends."
He landed his first coaching gig as the running back and defensive backs coach at East Meadow High School, where he coached there for four years. The coaching grind isn't an easy one and not for everyone, but King maintained tunnel vision to realize a dream he knew would manifest.
As he climbed his way up the coaching ladder, King had stints with Nassau Community College (wide receivers coach), Wagner College (assistant running backs), University of Nevada Reno (graduate assistant), Bucknell University (assistant wide receivers coach), 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 at the high school level, junior college, and college, but I think every step along the way has been excellent in terms of my growth and development and I think it hasn't stopped there. You know, as a coach, my expectations is always to be the best that I can be at any job that I'm doing. So, I want to continue to grow every day as much as I can."
In the midst of the 2022 offseason, the Falcons gave King a call offering him a position as a diversity coaching fellow with the special teams unit. For him, it was moment of clarity that affirmed he was on the right path. And though he was more than elated to join Atlanta, he lives by a 24-hour rule.
"You get excited for the opportunity, but you don't [just] want to have the opportunity, you want to excel in that 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 be coaching as special teams coordinator in the East-West Shrine game. His first bowl game of his career.
"Every time you get a chance to go on the field and coach, it's a chance to get better," King said. "My goal really is just to be the best that I can be right now with the opportunities that presents itself."