Tennessee hires Kevin Steele as defensive assistant coach


Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt walks onto the field to talk to players during an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (Brianna Paciorka/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, Pool)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt has hired Kevin Steele as a defensive assistant coach.

Steele is returning to the program where the former Auburn defensive coordinator started his coaching career. Pruitt announced the hiring Tuesday.

Steele was coordinator at Auburn the past five seasons with his defenses ranking in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense in four of those seasons.

Steele’s defense also produced 12 NFL draft picks. Pruitt said he has respected and admired Steele for a long time and had a chance to work and learn from the longtime defensive coach when both worked at Alabama in 2007-08.