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Alabama Hires Former Tennessee Assistant Kevin Steele as Defensive Coordinator

Kevin Steele
Alabama is hiring former Tennessee interim head coach Kevin Steele as their next defensive coordinator. Photo via Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) on Twitter.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are hiring longtime college football assistant coach Kevin Steele as their next defensive coordinator, according to a report from ESPN on Sunday evening.

Steele’s career spanning nearly 40 years in the sport has taken him to several SEC programs including multiple stints at the University of Tennessee.

Steele began his career at Tennessee as a student assistant in 1980, became a grad assistant in 1981, and held the outside linebackers coaching position in 1982 for one year. After two quick stops at New Mexico State and Oklahoma State in the mid-1980s, Steele returned to Tennessee as the defensive backs coach from 1987 to 1988.

As part of a two-month stint in Knoxville, Steele also served as the interim head coach between Jeremy Pruitt and Josh Heupel in 2021.

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Kevin Steele is now headed back to Tuscaloosa for the third time in his career. Steele previously served as the Tide’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2007-2008 before moving to Clemson from 2009 to 2011. Following his time with the Tigers, Steele returned to Alabama once again as the director of player personnel in 2013 and the linebackers coach in 2014.

Steele will have plenty of pieces to work with for the Crimson Tide. According to 247 Sports’ recruiting rankings, Alabama finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation this year, filled with high-level defensive prospects. Four out of the Tide’s top six recruits are on the defensive side of the ball, with each possessing a five-star rating.

  • Five-star safety Caleb Downs (No. 6 overall)
  • Five-star cornerback Desmond Ricks (No. 25 overall)
  • Five-star defensive lineman James Smith (No. 26 overall)
  • Five-star EDGE Qua Russaw (No. 34 overall)

With the task of replacing both of his coordinators this offseason, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has done just that in the last few days. On Feb. 3, ESPN reported that Alabama was hiring Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to the Tide’s staff. Two days later, Alabama officially brought on Kevin Steele on the defensive side of the ball.

Alabama will host Tennessee on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Bryant-Denny Stadium next fall.

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