Miami hires Kevin Steele as next defensive coordinator

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 01: Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele of the Auburn Tigers talks with players during the 2020 Outback Bowl against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Raymond James Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Photo credit: Getty Images

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Miami football has hired Kevin Steele to become the program’s next defensive coordinator, according to ON3 and other sources.

The hiring of Steele is somewhat surprising to some, at least, as Maryland was reported to have a verbal agreement with Steele to become its defensive coordinator. Steele was seen working at the team’s facilities last Friday and even met with recruits that weekend.

Steele comes to Miami with several years of coaching experience. He was the head coach at Baylor from 1999–2002 and has recently worked with multiple SEC teams. Steele played and coached at Tennessee, even returning as the team’s interim head coach for a brief stint last season. Steele was also with Alabama from 2007–2014 and coached at LSU and Auburn.

In the ACC, Steele coached at Clemson under current Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney from 2009–2011. At the NFL level, Steele was the linebackers coach with the Carolina Panthers from 1995–1998.

As Steele is now a part of the staff of Mario Cristobal, the two coaches reunite. Steele and Cristobal worked with each other at Alabama, as Cristobal’s tenure overlapped when he was an assistant coach of the Crimson Tide from 2013–2016.

With the hiring of Steele, head coach Mario Cristobal hopes to help turn around a defense that was only mediocre last season. The Hurricanes allowed 28.4 points per game and 389.6 yards per game. The total rankings landed UM ninth in defense of the 14 teams in the ACC.

ON3 was the first to report that Steele, the seventh new defensive coordinator in the ACC, had taken the job at Miami.