Former Nebraska football coach could be next Tennessee hire

(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images) /

The Nebraska football coaching tree could get another branch this month.

Now that Scott Frost is in place as head man for the Nebraska football team, a coach who was with the Cornhuskers during their glory years might be getting his own team. Former Huskers’ linebacker coach Kevin Steele is purported to be one of the three top candidates for the Tennessee Volunteers job.

Steele coached on the Cornhuskers staff under Tom Osborne from 1989 to 1994. During that period of time, the school went 60-11 and won the 1994 national championship. Steele played a big role in improving the team’s defense over that period of time.

In 1995, Steele took a job as the linebackers coach for the Carolina Panthers and then in 1999 took the head coaching job at Baylor. He lasted just four seasons there before being unable to turn the program around and being fired.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Football
Nebraska Cornhuskers Football /

Nebraska Cornhuskers Football

Since then, Steele has had numerous position coach and defensive coordinator jobs at Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, Alabama again, and then LSU. In 2016 he was hired at Auburn as Gus Malzahn’s defensive coordinator.

Last year his defense ranked 28th in the country and this season they were the 14th ranked defense in the country. Steele clearly wasn’t Tennessee’s first choice but the hire makes some sense.

The former Husker played linebacker at Tennessee back in the 1970s. There has been a push for UT to hire Tee Martin because he’s an alum. Steele would be an alum hire who has had quite a bit more experience in the coaching world.

While his stint at Baylor was far from successful (9-36), he also took over a truly terrible franchise. Having learned under Tom Osborne, Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban, it’s possible he’s picked up a few new tricks.

It would be nice to see yet another man from the Nebraska football glory days to get a job. Should he get hired at Tennessee it would mean three former Huskers were FBS head coaches in 2018. Steele and Frost will both be stepping into new jobs while Turner Gill’s Liberty Flames are making the move up a division.