Kevin Steele has entered some rather rarefied financial air this year.
According to USA Today‘s Steve Berkowitz, a new version of Steele’s contract was provided to him by Auburn and shows that the defensive coordinator will make $2.05 million in 2018 — $1.8 million in standard compensation and another $250,000 in the form of a retention bonus. That bonus is payable at the end of the regular season, which is less than a month away and is all but guaranteed to be paid out.
Per the deal that went into effect Jan. 1 of this year, Steele’s pay will dip in 2019 ($1.9 million) before going back up again the following year ($2 million). “He is no longer eligible for two pay components from his prior deal: $225,000 a year in bonuses connected to team defensive performance and an $83,333 retention payment that would have been due after next season,” Berkowitz wrote.
With the structure of his new deal, Steele joins fellow defensive coordinators Dave Aranda of LSU ($2.5 million) and Brent Venables of Clemson ($2.2 million) as the only assistants making at least $2 million in compensation in 2018. Last year, LSU’s Matt Canada, now the interim head coach at Maryland, was the highest-paid offensive coordinator at $1.505 million in total pay.
Steele, in his third season on The Plains, is directing a Tigers defense that is 13th in scoring (16.5 points per game) and 37th in yards allowed (348 yards per game) in 2018.