The University of Tennessee football program has hired former Vols player and Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele.
The Vols have been looking to hire a few assistant coaches over the past few weeks and have now filled one of those spots. The hiring of Kevin Steele comes on the heels of reports that Tennessee would not be able to hire any assistant coaches during the current investigation.
The hiring of Kevin Steele is a much needed improvement for this Tennessee squad, as Steele brings years of experience to the game.
Jeremy Pruitt released a statement in conjunction with the announcement.
“Kevin is someone I have respected and admired for a long time on and off the field,” Pruitt said, “I had the opportunity to learn and work with him during our time at Alabama and our friendship grew from there. He has outstanding knowledge of the game and understands what it takes to be successful in this conference. Having coached under the great Johnny Majors, he has a sincere appreciation for what it means to be a Tennessee Volunteer. We are thrilled to welcome Kevin and Linda back to Rocky Top.”
Kevin Steele served as the defensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers over the past five seasons. He also played for Johnny Majors at Tennessee and is a former assistant coach in Knoxville. He coached at Tennessee alongside Phillip Fulmer during the 1987-1988 season.
Jeremy Pruitt and Kevin Steele have previously worked together at Alabama.
The contract was also released on Tuesday afternoon, which will pay Steele $275,000 on the two year deal, along with $175,000 in supplemental pay. In total, Steele will make $450,000 per year, that’s not including what Auburn will still have to pay him, with the offset money from that buyout. The contract also contains many different incentives, pertaining to bowl and championship game appearances.
Kevin Steele issued a statement inside of Tennessee’s release.
“Linda and I are excited to be coming home,” Steele said. “Tennessee is a special place to me personally. I am truly grateful to Coach Pruitt and Coach Fulmer for this opportunity, and I am eager to get to work alongside them once again. I look forward to helping create an environment where our players are successful and truly embrace what it means to be a Volunteer.”
The Vols will continue their search for an offensive line coach, as they’ve already interviewed multiple candidates. Jeremy Pruitt and the football program is still under investigation into alleged recruiting improprieties and impermissible benefits. The investigation has been ongoing since November and work has continued this week.
This is a big hire for Tennessee, especially getting the defensive mind of Steele, so it will be interesting to see which position he ends up coaching.