A high stakes game of tug-of-war has ended with Auburn pulling LSU defensive coordinator Kevin Steele over to the orange-and-blue striped Tigers.
Steele will be Auburn’s fifth defensive coordinator in six years.
Malzahn confirms Kevin Steele will be Auburn's next defensive coordinator. Praised his work ethic, character. Didn't take questions on that.
— Matthew Stevens (@matthewcstevens) December 30, 2015
“We’re extremely excited to have a guy with his experience, his character, his work ethic,” Gus Malzahn said, via AL.com. “He’ll fit in very good and I think he’s got a chance. He’s going to take over a very talented group. We’re excited.”
— Auburn Football (@FootballAU) December 30, 2015
In one season as LSU’s defensive coordinator, Steele helped LSU finish 32nd nationally in yards per play allowed (the Tigers were 18th last season) and 42nd in scoring defense (fourth a year ago). He was in the first year of a two-year contract that paid him $1 million annually.
Kevin Steele will make in neighborhood of $1.4 million at Auburn – up from $1 million at LSU.
— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) December 30, 2015
Auburn’s hiring of Steele continues a run of in-house defensive hiring within the SEC: Auburn was in the market for a defensive coordinator after Will Muschamp left to become the head coach at South Carolina; Georgia hired Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to become its head coach, and Alabama hired Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to replace Smart; Missouri promoted defensive coordinator Barry Odom to head coach to replace Gary Pinkel; LSU will be in the market for a defensive coordinator for a second straight year after John Chavis left for Texas A&M a year ago; and Steele was at Alabama for two years prior to arriving in Baton Rouge, serving as director of player personnel in 2013 and linebackers coach in 2014.
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