Santana, famous for his trusty clipboard and broken English, replaced Jorginho, who quit after a 5-1 defeat to arch-rivals Vitoria, Bahia said on their website. His last stint at Bahia lasted five months in 2011-12.
Santana is one of Brazil's most travelled and experienced coaches with five spells at Flamengo, four with Vasco da Gama, three at Fluminense and Botafogo and one apiece with Corinthians, America, Brasiliense, Coritiba, Vitoria, Guarani and Internacional.
The down-to-earth 64-year-old, who has continued to use a clipboard in training sessions and on the team bench long after his fellow coaches switched to laptop computers and tablets, has also worked at clubs in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Japan.
His journeyman career took an unexpected twist when he was named coach of 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa in 2008, only to be fired eight months before the tournament and replaced by Carlos Alberto Parreira.
During that time, Santana became known for his failed attempts to master English which sprouted a television commercial, in which he starred, in his native Brazil.
Although the Brazilian championship starts in May, Bahia are the fifth of the 20 teams to have changed coaches in the state tournaments which open the marathon season.
Criciuma, Flamengo, Vasco and Nautico have already changed coaches, the latter twice.