Report: Alabama hires Kevin Steele to be defensive coordinator

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 17: Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele looks on prior to the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on September 17, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images)
Kevin Steele was Nick Saban's first defensive coordinator at Alabama. (Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images)

Alabama has turned to a former Auburn defensive coordinator to run its defense.

According to ESPN, Kevin Steele will be Alabama’s next defensive coordinator. Steele ran Miami’s defense in 2022 after he served as Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2016-2020.

Steele’s reported hire comes two days after Alabama hired Tommy Rees to be the offensive coordinator. Rees comes to Alabama from Notre Dame after he was the Fighting Irish’s offensive coordinator for the past three seasons.

This will be Steele’s third stint at Alabama. He was the team’s defensive coordinator in Nick Saban’s first season in 2007 and returned to the team in 2013 as its director of player personnel. In between, he was Clemson’s defensive coordinator for three seasons and coached at LSU in 2015 between his stints at Alabama and Auburn.

Steele has head coaching experience as well. He was Baylor’s coach from 1999-2002. The Bears went 9-36 in his tenure and were 1-31 in the Big 12.

Steele’s stint at Auburn came under head coach Gus Malzahn and he was the team’s interim head coach for a 35-19 loss to Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl after Malzahn was fired. Steele wasn’t retained at Auburn after the team hired Boise State coach Bryan Harsin.

He spent the 2021 season out of college football before he was hired at Tennessee following the season. Steele was hired by Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt before Pruitt was fired by the school and subsequently promoted to interim coach in the offseason before Josh Heupel was hired as the full-time Vols coach.

Steele was at Tennessee for a grand total of 51 days after signing a two-year deal worth $900,000 and then signed on to become Maryland’s defensive coordinator for the 2022 season. That tenure lasted less than a week before Miami head coach Mario Cristobal hired him to run the Hurricanes’ defense.

Miami gave up 27 points per game and 5.9 yards per play in 2022. Alabama gave up 18 points per play in 2022. The Tide were in need of a defensive coordinator after Pete Golding left the team to take the same position at Ole Miss.