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Updated: Steele out as Clemson defensive coordinator

Clemson v Maryland Getty Images

And, in other news, West Virginia just scored another touchdown.

The news for Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, however, is a bit different. According to TigerIllustrated ($), Steele is out at Clemson eight days after the Tigers gave up 70 points and nearly 600 yards to West Virginia in an Orange Bowl blowout loss.

The school said Steele has not been fired, despite previous reports, but has departed. He will receive $1.15 million in buyout money, per his contract.

“I have had a great experience at Clemson and feel good about what we have accomplished the last three years,” said Steele in a release. “But, there are some other coaching opportunities I wish to pursue at this time.

“It has been rewarding to see this program grow to the point of winning Clemson’s first ACC Championship in 20 years. I want to thank the coaches and players who worked so hard these last three years. Clemson is a special place and I wish the program and the players continued success.”

“I want to thank Kevin Steele for his significant contributions to our program over the last three years,” said Head Coach Dabo Swinney. “He has had a huge impact on Clemson football. Our players have learned countless lessons from him on and off the field.

“Although we were inconsistent at times with a young defense this year, overall we have been one of the best defenses in the country the last three years under his direction. I thank him for his hard work and dedication to our program and wish him nothing but the best.”

Steele was in his third season with the Tigers and had been connected to the open defensive coordinator job at Tennessee, his alma mater.

This season, the Tigers were 81st in points allowed (29.3 PPG), 71st in yards per game allowed (394.4), 80th in pass yards allowed and 103rd in rushing yards allowed. It should be noted, though, that Clemson had Top 25 scoring defenses in Steele’s first two seasons.

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24 Responses to “Updated: Steele out as Clemson defensive coordinator”
  1. indywvu says: Jan 12, 2012 12:45 PM

    I wonder if this isn’t all performance related, as Sweeney was talking up his D in pre-game interviews and early on Gruden was hyping him as well. There’s almost now way this was based on one bad performance either.

  2. jason1214 says: Jan 12, 2012 12:59 PM

    Id think Steele will head to Bama, if Sunsieri heads to UT.

  3. daveyjones1 says: Jan 12, 2012 1:03 PM

    I’d rather have Sunsieri at UT. Did you see Steele’s last game? Maybe they could bring both of them in, since there are plenty of job openings at Tennessee.

  4. gamecockinfl says: Jan 12, 2012 1:06 PM

    A real shame. Hate to lose Steele. Hopefully Dabo will be around a LONG time.

  5. pabstman says: Jan 12, 2012 1:27 PM

    Clemson can’t confirm or deny the report because Steele has been a resident on Bull St in Columbia, SC since the OB…word has it he’s in a padded cell and hasn’t been out of the fetal position, with his thumb in his mouth, since last week. The nurses say’s he keeps mumbling, “Tavon is the debel…the debel”!!!!

  6. drummerhoff says: Jan 12, 2012 1:27 PM

    Brent Venables to WVU?

  7. deadeye says: Jan 12, 2012 1:51 PM

    This move is completely unfair to Steele. Holding WVU to 70 was a magnificant coaching feat. Any other DC would have surrendered 71 or 72 points.

  8. pricecube says: Jan 12, 2012 1:52 PM

    Please keep this guy away from Tennessee.

  9. Mark Boland Jr says: Jan 12, 2012 2:11 PM

    Your only warnings, Mark. Don’t come on here and pimp your/a site.

  10. jonkybon says: Jan 12, 2012 2:32 PM

    As the Clemson Tiger players admire their brand new ACC Championship rings, how do the Gamecocks like their fifth place SEC rings?
    At least the Gamecocks went the the SEC Championship game…last year only to lose in a larger margin of loss then Clemson did this year in their Bowl game.
    SC please keep Spurrier. We know you have very low expectations and are so proud of a fifth place finish with a 3-2 record against teams with winning records at the time the games were played. Better then last year when they were 2-4 against teams with winning records and their east title.

  11. woebegong says: Jan 12, 2012 3:01 PM

    I think the falcons are looking for a new DC.

  12. cuckflemson says: Jan 12, 2012 4:42 PM

    Jonkybon, once again you seriously need to get out of your moms basement and get a life. You are obviously a sad, pathetic, uneducated person. One of Clemsons many sidewalk fans. Go ahead and try to belittle me with a hateful, negative comment if you’d like. But every time you hit post you only prove my point.

  13. jonkybon says: Jan 12, 2012 5:48 PM

    Cuckflemson…Your screen name says all posters need to know about you. The fact that you have one post in this thread and that one calls me out for ‘belittling’ you suggests you have an identity crisis. You know, the guy who has to use multiple identities to make it look like people agree with him.
    The fact is my post was neither attacked any poster or called anybody out says you are insecure and like to stretch the boundries of TOS. So be it. You are like most Shamecock fans I have met, very insecure. Why shouldn’t you be? You root for one of the NCAA’s worst all time programs and like to support a coach that admits he ‘wants’ to pay his players. A program that may face the death penalty for NCAA violations. The SEC capped recruit signing because of the scumbag’s practice in Columbia. Too bad Spurrier can only sign 25 now.
    BTW Clemson has signed 19 recruits and has the fifth ranked class. Those in SC with lower expectations have signed 22 and have the 15th ranked class. The cream of the SC team wants out so badly they’ve declared for early draft entry. Only one player has from Clemson.
    Its obvious you can’t refute facts, so you try and make a lame attempt to make it personal between us. As for uneducated, I probably have more degrees than you have letters in your name.
    BTW what is a sidewalk fan? Is that original to Crapolina? I probably attend more Clemson games each year than you have Shamecock (non student tickets) in your life.

  14. jonkybon says: Jan 12, 2012 6:04 PM

    Sorry for misreading your post Cuck. I thought you said I already belittled you. Instead you were trying to stave off a response to your unprovoked slander of me. Even better.
    However, everything I said in the previous post still applies.

  15. cuckflemson says: Jan 12, 2012 6:54 PM

    Wow! That many degrees huh? Great story brah!

  16. dg0122 says: Jan 12, 2012 9:40 PM

    Jason and Davey, The University of Texas is quite pleased with Manny Diaz, so we dont need Sunseri.

  17. jason1214 says: Jan 12, 2012 9:47 PM


    Tennessee, not Texas.

  18. daveyjones1 says: Jan 13, 2012 6:18 AM


    Remember the Alamo?

    Texas would not be a state without the Volunteers from Tennessee!

  19. dg0122 says: Jan 13, 2012 8:30 AM

    does Tennesse still play football? I guess they were 1 of the 6 teams that did not go to a bowl game this year.
    and yes I visited the Alamo 2 weeks ago for about the 10th time. great place to visit.

  20. woebegong says: Jan 13, 2012 8:42 AM

    When your defense gives up 70 points to another team, it is hardly just the DC that messed up. Where was the offense in the game. I watched the Clemson QB look completely baffled and out of the picture most of the game. The DC is an easy scape goat, but the real problem to me appears to be the head coach. I kjnow he was the ACC coach of the year and I am sure a few other rewards, but they even got beat by Georgia Tech. this year, so I am not sure the ACC, should have even been in the Orange Bowl, if not for conference affiliation. It would be darn hard for the AD to replace Dabo, now with those rewards, but if they don’t do any better in 2012, I could see the hammer coming down on Dabo. Clemson should be shooting higher than just the ACC title.

  21. jonkybon says: Jan 13, 2012 9:25 AM

    woebegong says:
    It would be darn hard for the AD to replace Dabo, now with those rewards, but if they don’t do any better in 2012, I could see the hammer coming down on Dabo. Clemson should be shooting higher than just the ACC title.

    Clemson fans and players love Dabo. I don’t recall any other HC being doused twice after a victory.

    Next lets remember that in 10, Dabos first full season CU had a losing record. In his second full year they won the ACC crown, before the huliliating bowl loss. Currently Dabo is recruiting his third class and with six slots left to fill Clemson already has the fifth rated class and will likely land another top rated RB. No one is foolish enough to think any ACC or SEC school wont fill their quota of 25.

    Because Dabo had no prior HC experience, the AD saddled him with his staff. Last year he brought in his guys to coach the Offense. This year its the Defenses turn. While you are correct, it was more than just the Defense 4 January, the Offense was scoring at will until the Ellington fumble. We wont get into my opinion of the officiating in that game as the cream should over come poor calls.

    If you watched the games this season, you would have seen as I did that the Defense always seemed week in the first half and the Offense carried the Defense. Clemson has a lot of very young promising players on both sides of the ball, but a better DC would have had them playing better. ie. One of my favorite players in #97 M. Goodman. Its obvious to everyone he is big, strong and very fast. I see him as a potential first round pick. The problem is that he doesn’t get off the snap fast enough. There is usually about a 3 second delay between snap and Malachi attacking. That tells me he is thinking and not reacting. That is a sign of poor coaching.

    With all the young quality players returning, Dabo’s third strong recruiting class and an upgrade with the defensive coaches, Clemson will have higher aspiriations next year. A baby learns to walk before it runs. Dabo got them playing his first full year, won the ACC his second, third year should be a top ten finish with more than just 5 oppponants with winning records.

  22. woebegong says: Jan 13, 2012 9:31 AM

    Hope you are right my friend. I personally like Clemson, if for no other reason, than the fact that they irritate Spurrier so much. I would like to see Clemson whop up on the SC team this year. When Dabo does that, then I think they will have arrived. Beat GA. Tech. while you are at it, since they think because they beat you, that they are the ACC champs anyway.

  23. jonkybon says: Jan 13, 2012 11:12 AM

    Aint nottin finer in the land then a drunk obnoxious Ga fan…Go Dawgs!!!


  24. woebegong says: Jan 13, 2012 12:03 PM

    AWWWW shucks and I don’t even drink. They let me cheer them on though, since I am an ole fart.


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