A former long-time Tennessee assistant coach is returning to UT to help out his former head coach.
Tennessee announced on Tuesday that Steve Caldwell will be UT’s new Assistant Director of Life Skills & Character Development. Caldwell’s new administrative role will see him “implementing and managing strategic development plans for incoming football student-athletes as they transition to campus life and high-level intercollegiate athletics.”
Caldwell coached under current Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee for over a decade. He coached defensive ends at UT from 1995-2008 and served as the Vols’ special teams coordinator from 2000-05. He helped the Vols win the 1998 National Championship and a number of conference and division titles during his time as an assistant under Fulmer.
Not only did Caldwell spend 14 years in Knoxville, but he’s also coached at many other schools and boasts more than 40 years of experience at the collegiate level. Caldwell also coached at Arkansas State (1978-80, 1985-89, 2013), Pacific (1991-93), Nevada (1994), Ole Miss (1994-95), Arkansas (2010-12, 2018-19) and Boise State (2014-17). He has two national titles, 10 conference titles, and 20 bowl games to his name as an assistant.
“Steve played a key role during an era of extraordinary success for Tennessee football,” Fulmer said via a release. “He knows this community, this campus. and the history of this program. He understands the behind-the-scenes work that goes into winning at the highest level.
“He’s also a man of great integrity and character who has spent his entire professional career mentoring and developing successful, high-achieving young men. (Head coach Jeremy Pruitt) and I are thrilled to bring Steve on in a role where he can continue to impact and influence young men in our program and help steer them toward excellence.”
Caldwell’s new role centers on providing mentoring and guidance as it relates to academics, athletics, life skills, personal and professional growth, and social responsibilities on campus and throughout the community.
In addition, Caldwell will serve on Tennessee’s football student-athlete support team while also performing external relations functions such as campus, community, lettermen, and donor relations. He’ll also work closely with VFL Director Dr. Mikki Allen to cultivate relationships with current and former student-athletes.
“I’m excited about being back home at Tennessee,” Caldwell said. “We left here almost a dozen years ago, and it’s always been a dream to come back. I am truly a Vol For Life.
“One of the greatest joys I’ve had in my 43 years of coaching college football is mentoring young men off the field. It’s extremely rewarding to shape their lives in ways that transcend football.”
At Tennessee, Caldwell coached and developed the likes of Leonard Little, Shaun Ellis, and Will Overstreet on defense and punter Dustin Colquitt on special teams.