Kevin Steele (Getty Images)
Clemson, SC (WLTX) - Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is out as Clemson Defensive Coordinator.
The school confirmed Thursday that he would not return to the team.
"I have had a great experience at Clemson and feel good about what we have accomplished the last three years," said Steele. "But, there are some other coaching opportunities I wish to pursue at this time."
Steele, a Dillon native, had been at Clemson for the past three years. While his units had been solid the first two years, this past season saw the Tiger defense struggle.
Its best performances were the two games against Virginia Tech. But against teams with mobile quarterbacks, the Tiger defense gave up yards and points in bunches, the final straw coming in the Orange Bowl when West Virginia's offense scored at will and lit up the Tigers for 63 points. The other seven scored by WVU came off the Andre Ellington fumble.
Steele just finished his 26th season at the college level and has coached in 19 bowl games, including nine that would be considered BCS, or "major" bowls. He was a member of the Nebraska staff that won the national championship in 1994. He also coached four years with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, including the 1996 season when the Panthers reached the NFC Championship game.
After his stint in Charlotte, Steele took over the program at Baylor. He has also been an assistant at Florida State and before coming to Clemson, Steele coached under Nick Saban at Alabama.
The Tennessee graduate and former assistant there turned down an offer from his alma mater last year to return to that program. With the Volunteers in the market again for a defensive coordinator, Steele's name popped up again as the 2011 regular season ended.
But lately, it appears the Volunteers are moving in another direction and now, so is Clemson.