Count Paul Finebaum among the pro-Kevin Steele crowd following the Alabama football defensive coordinator hire on February 5. Finebaum went on the February 6 edition of the “McElroy and Cubelic In the morning” show on WJOX in Birmingham and reeled off a list of reasons why the hiring a man with two previous stints in Tuscaloosa under Nick Saban and 43 years of coaching experience was a good call.
“I think he’s a fantastic choice, for a lot of reasons,” Finebaum said. “He understands Nick Saban of any assistant coach, maybe short of Kirby Smart, in the entire country. They worked together, as you know Cole, remained friends, even when (Steele) was at Auburn…Saban and Steele talked occasionally. They’re similar ages…they have vast backgrounds.”
Steele hasn’t been a head coach since 2002, when he was the head coach at Baylor. Bringing the vaunted Crimson Tide defense back to peak Saban-era levels could be parlayed into the elusive head coaching job Steele unsuccessfully campaigned for in December 2020 while at Auburn.
Joe Goodman on Kevin Steele’s Alabama Football Hire
AL.com’s Joseph Goodman had an interesting take on Steele coming on board to the Crimson Tide freight train. According to Goodman, Steele is with Alabama in order to haunt Auburn after spurning him two offseasons ago for an eventually unsuccessful Bryan Harsin.
“Auburn chose Harsin over Steele back in 2020 and now Steele, Saban’s original defensive coordinator at Alabama, is back with the Crimson Tide to exact even more payback from the Tigers,” Goodman wrote.
The AL.com writer also called Steele’s return for a third go-round in Tuscaloosa a product of the circle of life. “It’s an interesting reunion in more ways than one, of course,” he wrote. “If Steele is Saban’s final defensive coordinator after all these years, then maybe it’s true what they say about the cyclical nature of time. Our first days will always be just like our last.”
Brandon Marcello Says Alabama Football’s Gain is Also Miami’s Gain
247Sports’ Brandon Marcello believes that the addition to the Alabama football coaching staff of Steele is also a net positive for Miami, a 5-7 bowl ineligible disappointment in 2022. The Hurricanes needing to make an offensive coordinator (in particular) and defensive coordinator hire, like what Saban just did, is a good thing according to Marcello.
“Nearly a year after Mario Cristobal methodically and expertly built his first staff at Miami, he is back at square one — that’s not a bad thing, either,” Marcello wrote. “The Hurricanes disappointed in Year 1 on the field and more frustrating was that growth seemed difficult under both offensive and defensive coordinators, particularly on offense. Cristobal fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after a dreadfully inconsistent performance just one year after the Michigan coordinator was lauded as the nation’s best assistant coach as the winner of the Broyles Award.”
Steele has 13 different stops, with several of them having multiple stints, on his resume. Not all of them bared fruit, but there’s a reason why he has never had a gap in his resume over more than four decades.