KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee head football coach Jeremy Pruitt announced Tuesday that veteran Southeastern Conference coach Kevin Steele has joined the program as a defensive assistant coach.
Steele, a 1981 graduate of the University of Tennessee and former Vols assistant, returns to Rocky Top after serving as the defensive coordinator at Auburn the past five seasons. His units ranked in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense in four out of those five seasons, while producing 12 NFL Draft picks and multiple first-rounders.
In total, Steele owns 38 years of coaching experience, including 13 years in the SEC and 10 years as a defensive coordinator. Pruitt and Steele reunite after serving on Alabama’s staff together from 2007-08.
In 2020, Steele’s unit ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring defense while playing a 10-game conference slate. He also served as interim head coach for the Tigers’ Citrus Bowl contest against Northwestern.
In 2019, Auburn’s defense ranked eighth nationally in both red-zone and third-down defense, allowing only 19.5 points per game against a schedule that featured six 11-win opponents. The 2018 Auburn defense ranked 14th nationally in scoring defense (19.2) and allowed only nine rushing touchdowns. The Tigers ranked in the top 20 nationally in sacks (38) and tackles for loss (96) and were ninth nationally with three interception returns for scores.