Alabama football coach Nick Saban confirmed Wednesday that Kevin Steele is returning to the field as inside linebackers coach.
Steele, who spent this past season as Alabama's director of player personnel, was Saban's first defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide in 2007 and remained on the staff in '08 before serving as Clemson's defensive coordinator from 2009 to '11.
"I've known Kevin for a long time, and he will do an excellent job for us in this role," Saban said through a release. "Kevin is very familiar with our program from an organizational standpoint as well as our defense from coaching here previously, so he'll be able to jump right in and not miss a beat.
"He possesses outstanding organizational skills along with great people skills which make him an excellent coach, teacher and recruiter."
Current Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has coached the inside linebackers but will move back to overseeing the secondary, which he did during the 2007 and '08 seasons. The Tide have been short an assistant since secondary coach Greg Brown left after one year for the same position at Louisville.
Steele played linebacker for Tennessee's junior varsity teams during the late 1970s and is a 1981 UT graduate. He was a student assistant for Johnny Majors and the Volunteers in 1980 and a graduate assistant in '81 before being promoted to outside linebackers coach in '82.
He returned to Tennessee as the defensive backs coach during the 1987 and '88 seasons before moving on to stints with Nebraska, the NFL's Carolina Panthers, Baylor and Florida State before his first go-around in Tuscaloosa.
"I'm really looking forward to getting back into an on-the-field coaching role," Steele said, "and I want to thank Coach Saban and the University of Alabama for all they have done for me and my family through the years. I've been lucky enough to work with probably three of the best to ever coach the game, from Coach [Tom] Osborne to Coach [Bobby] Bowden to Coach Saban, so there is a great appreciation that comes when you have a special opportunity like this."
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