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Updated with information on Kevin Steele at 7:10 p.m. on March 4, 2021.

Tennessee on Thursday afternoon confirmed the hiring of assistant football coach Mike Ekeler, who will have the roles of special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

The hiring completes Josh Heupel's inaugural 10-member staff with the Volunteers.

"Mike is one of the most engaging and charismatic leaders I know," Heupel said in a release. "The energy he will bring to our football team, in addition to his track record of guiding successful special teams and defensive units, will enhance our program. We are excited to welcome Coach Ekeler and his family to our Tennessee football family and look forward to watching him make a difference in the lives of our student-athletes."

With Ekeler coaching the outside linebackers, that leaves Brian Jean-Mary with the role of inside linebackers. The completion of Heupel's staff also results in a parting of ways with defensive assistant Kevin Steele, who was hired in January with a two-year, $900,000 guaranteed contract and wound up working roughly seven weeks.

Ekeler returns to the Southeastern Conference after coaching inside linebackers and special teams at Georgia in 2014-15, and he was also a graduate assistant on LSU's 2007 national championship team. He and Heupel were graduate assistants together at Oklahoma in 2004.

Tennessee's offensive coordinator the past two seasons, Jim Chaney, was announced Thursday as an offensive analyst with the New Orleans Saints. This is Chaney's first stint in the NFL since 2008, when he was tight ends coach of the St. Louis Rams.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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