All For Tennessee saw Kevin Steele stint as helpful for Volunteers

Kevin Steele Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Steele Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /

To Auburn fans, Kevin Steele was a problematic figure that caused the team to oust a long-time, well-respected head coach in Gus Malzahn that did great things with the Tigers program during his seven years on the Plains.

To Tennessee fans, Kevin Steele was a fly-by-night fixer that was well-compensated and well-meaning.

Steele was fired by the Auburn football program after an attempt at the head coaching position that had been vacated by Malzahn. The long-time defensive coordinator did do a good job on the recruiting trail and helped field a respectable defense throughout the years as the offense faltered, but fans vehemently opposed his candidacy and forced the Tigers’ brain trust to bring on an executive search firm to nail the search.

Auburn’s mediocrity in the SEC the last six years was not Steele’s fault, but the sour feelings of the team’s much-derided coaching search can be attributed to his attempted head coaching coup.

On the other side of the Alabama-Tennessee state line, Volunteers fans are actually happy about Steele’s tenure on Rocky Top. As All For Tennesee’s Caleb Calhoun writes, the former Vols analyst was actually $900,000 well-spent:

"Given the fact that Tennessee football hired [Kevin Steele] as Pruitt was under investigation, that just seems like they threw money away at this point. However, a deeper look suggests that Steele provided more value than people realize.Although UT lost out on Dylan Brooks and Cody Brown, there are key players they kept in their 2021 recruiting class. Even after those losses, they maintained a top 20 class and kept elite players like Walker Merrill, KaTron Evans, Aaron Willis, Tiyon Evans, Kaidon Salter and Kaemen Marley. It’s highly possible that in his seven weeks on the job, Steele did his part to keep a lot of the roster together."

Steele’s stay in Knoxville may have been a blessing in disguise for both he and the Volunteers. With Josh Heupel being the man to take over the HC role at Tennessee, Steele is now free to find a less dysfunctional program.

Or he can fill in for Les Miles at Kansas.

Kevin Steele has options and it is good to know he has been productive for at least one SEC team this offseason.

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