Staff Report: SPORTS

Tennessee has hired veteran SEC defensive coordinator Kevin Steele to join Jeremy Pruitt's staff as a defensive assistant coach.

"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."

Steele has most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Auburn where he successfully guided the Tigers' defense from 2016-20. Steele was a lead candidate to replace Gus Malzahn as Auburn's head coach before fan backlash stopped his momentum in Auburn's search.

Steele was also one of the three finalist to get the Tennessee head coaching job in 2017 when athletic director Phillip Fulmer ultimately decided on Pruitt.

What role Steele will serve on Tennessee's staff is still unknown with Derrick Ansley currently making over $1 million a year as the Vols' defensive coordinator.

Steele played linebacker at Tennessee and served as the defensive back's coach at his alma mater for two seasons in the late 80s.

"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 South Carolina native has also served as defensive coordinator at Alabama, Clemson and LSU.

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