LSU has hired Alabama linebacker coach Kevin Steele as its new defensive coordinator.
The move comes almost two full weeks after John Chavis left the Tigers to accept the same position at Texas A&M. Steele served as the linebacker coach in Tuscaloosa during the 2014 season. He rejoined the Crimson Tide staff in 2013 as the director of player personnel.
“This is a great hire for us,” said LSU coach Les Miles in a press release. “Kevin has had a very successful coaching career, one that has seen him coach alongside some of the top coaches in the game...He has a great defensive mind and he’s an outstanding recruiter. He knows our players and our system and his knowledge of the SEC and the SEC Western Division makes him a great fit. We are very excited the Kevin will be joining our staff.”
Steele, 56, made $702,750 in total pay with Alabama, according to the USA Today database of assistant coach salaries. Chavis made more than $1.3 million per year while with the Tigers.
Steele's last defensive coordinator gig came at Clemson from 2009-11. He produced units that finished in the Top 20 nationally in total defense in his first two years with Clemson, but the program dropped off considerably and he was fired after the 2011 season.
In his last game with Clemson, West Virginia amassed 70 points and 595 total yards in the Orange Bowl that ultimately contributed to his dismissal.
Steele is a longtime friend of Chavis as the two grew up together in Dillon, S.C. They played together at Tennessee in 1978, and Chavis coached him as a graduate assistant in 1979. Steele was expected to join the LSU staff in some capacity two years ago, but the deal never worked out. He went to Alabama instead, where he's been for the last two seasons.
Steele coached the inside linebackers this past season, contributing to a defense that ranked No. 12 nationally. This was his second stint with the Tide, serving as their defensive coordinator in 2007 and associate head coach in 2008. Before that he worked at several colleges during a coaching career that began in 1980.
He also spent four years in the NFL (1995-98) with the Carolina Panthers before serving as the Baylor head coach from 1999-2002.
While at Alabama, he's mostly been charged with recruiting linebackers. He's listed as the primary recruiter for Alabama commits Keaton Anderson and Joshua McMillon.
Steele's expected to coach linebackers at LSU in addition to his duties as defensive coordinator.
Steele's son, Gordon, spent three seasons at LSU as a defensive quality control assistant before leaving to become the linebackers coach at Murray State last year.
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LSU hires Alabama's Kevin Steele as DC
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