Kevin Steele

Kevin Steele
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Defensive coordinator
Team Auburn
Conference SEC
Biographical details
Born (1958-03-17) March 17, 1958
Dillon, South Carolina
Playing career
1976 Furman
1978–1979 Tennessee
Position(s) Linebacker
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1980 Tennessee (SA)
1980–1981 Tennessee (GA)
1982 Tennessee (OLB)
1983 New Mexico State (LB)
1984–1986 Oklahoma State (LB/TE)
1987–1988 Tennessee (DB)
1989–1994 Nebraska (LB)
1995–1998 Carolina Panthers (LB)
1999–2002 Baylor
2003–2006 Florida State (LB)
2007 Alabama (DC)
2008 Alabama (DHC/ILB)
2009–2011 Clemson (DC/LB)
2013 Alabama (Director Player Personnel)
2014 Alabama (LB)
2015 LSU (DC/LB)
2016–present Auburn (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall 9–36

Kevin Steele (born May 17, 1958) is an American football coach and former player. He is the current defensive coordinator for Auburn Tigers. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator at LSU and coached inside linebackers for the football team at Alabama. Previously, he was the defensive coordinator at Clemson University from 2009 until early 2012.[1] From 1999 to 2002, Steele served as the head football coach at Baylor University, compiling a record of 9–36 overall and 1–31 in the Big 12 Conference.

Playing career

Steele played three seasons of collegiate football as a linebacker. He spent his freshman year at Furman University before transferring to Tennessee, where he was a member of Johnny Majors' 1978 and 1979 squads.

Coaching career

Career as an assistant

From 1989 to 1994, Steele coached the linebackers under Nebraska legend Tom Osborne. During his six years in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers went 60-11, appeared in six bowl games, won four conference championships and captured the 1994 national championship with a 13-0 record. He coached Butkus Award winner Trev Alberts during that time. He was also an assistant coach at the Florida State University, University of Tennessee, Oklahoma State University and New Mexico State University. On January 4, 2007, Steele was hired by new Alabama coach Nick Saban as defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide.

Carolina Panthers

In 1995, Steele moved to the NFL as the linebackers coach for the Carolina Panthers. Under head coach Dom Capers, the Panthers reached the NFC Championship Game in their second season (1996).

A well publicized moment occurred during Steele's last year in Carolina. Linebacker Kevin Greene attacked Steele during a heated discussion, grabbing the coach by his clothing. The incident was captured on live television. Steele did not retaliate.[2]

"Football is an emotional, aggressive game," Steele said. "Those guys are out there fighting. Kevin is a good person. We've talked about it and worked it out. That's all I have to say about it."[3]

Head coaching career

Steele was the head coach at Baylor University from 1999 to 2002. His record was 9–36 (1–31 in the Big 12 conference).

In Steele's first season (1999), Baylor finished with a 1–10 record (the school's worst since 1969). During the 1999 season, Steele's Baylor team was involved in what called one of the top 10 worst coaching decisions. The decision came when he chose a running play rather than a kneel down with Baylor leading and possessing the ball in the game's final 12 seconds and their opponent, the UNLV Rebels, was out of time outs. The ensuing Baylor fumble and UNLV return for a touchdown gave the Rebels a shocking win.[4]

Steele's second season began with a 2–1 non-conference record but was followed by eight straight Big 12 losses, only one closer than 24 points. A particularly rough stretch in October saw the Bears shut out in three consecutive games (the last of which was a 59–0 loss at Nebraska, where the Huskers led 38–0 after the first quarter). Part of BU's offensive woes were caused by the season ending collarbone injury to heralded offseason JUCO transfer quarterback Greg Cicero, who was injured in the season's second game. Steele's third season in 2001 started with a 2–0 record (including an exciting overtime win over New Mexico).

Steele's fourth season (2002) had a terrible beginning. For opening day, Baylor traveled to Berkeley to play California. Since Cal had finished 1-10 the previous year, many felt this was a good matchup. However, Cal (who turned out to be greatly improved in 2002) immediately took command of the game, jumping to a 35–0 lead and cruising to a 70–22 win. Although the team rallied from the defeat to win three of the next four games (the last a 35–32 win over Kansas for Steele's first Big 12 conference win), they could not sustain the momentum, losing their next four conference games by wide margins and Steele was fired after the fourth (a 62–11 loss to Texas Tech). After the firing, Steele elected to finish the season and continued as head coach for the season's last three games, all losses. Steele was succeeded by coach Guy Morriss.


Steele is a native of Dillon, South Carolina. He and his wife, Linda, have a son (Gordon) and a daughter (Caroline).

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Baylor Bears (Big 12 Conference) (1999–2002)
1999 Baylor 1–10 0–8 6th (South)
2000 Baylor 2–9 0–8 6th (South)
2001 Baylor 3–8 0–8 6th (South)
2002 Baylor 3–9 1–7 6th (South)
Baylor: 9–36 1–31
Total: 9–36


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Joe Kines
Alabama Crimson Tide Defensive Coordinator
Succeeded by
Kirby Smart

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