Orange Bowl blowout not enough to eliminate Kevin Steele as possible UT target

One rough night at the office doesn't appear to be enough to erase an entire resume.

Even if it happens to be the latest entry on a possible application.

Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was on the wrong end of a historic blowout on Wednesday night in the Orange Bowl, with his unit allowing 70 points to West Virginia in the lopsided loss. But according to a source familiar with the search process at Tennessee but not authorized to speak publicly about it on Thursday, Steele's body of work in 26 years as a coach would take precedence over a one-game sample and the Vols alum and former assistant remains a viable candidate to replace Justin Wilcox.

No definitive timetable has been established for filling the vacancy created when Wilcox bolted for an opening at Washington on Monday, taking linebackers coach Peter Sirmon with him. And the source could not confirm details of any conversations between UT coach Derek Dooley and Steele — or any other possible targets for the position.

But Steele does have ties to Dooley's old boss, Alabama coach Nick Saban, and his new one, former Florida State athletic director and current UT vice chancellor Dave Hart. And he at least appears to be on the radar for the Vols now that Clemson's season is officially over, even considering the disappointing way it ended for Steele.

"It just got off track, guys started pressing, got out of position and didn't execute very well, and that's on me," Steele told Clemson reporters after the game. "It's on me, it's my job to get them to execute and get ready.

"I've got to do a better job. It's my responsibility, and I take responsibility for it. In this business, you stand in the paint, take shots and get better."

If Steele is considering improving UT's defense instead of Clemson's heading into next year, he gave no indication of that after the game. A candidate for Dooley two years ago before the hiring of Wilcox, Steele denied having spoken with any other programs or having asked permission of Tigers coach Dabo Swinney to do so.

Dooley hasn't tipped his hand about his next coaching move, either, after he nabbed another UT product to fill out his coaching staff last month by signing former South Carolina assistant Jay Graham to handle running backs at his alma mater. In his first public comments since the season-ending loss at Kentucky, Dooley made clear that he wouldn't rush to a decision or limit his options to just presumptive candidates like Steele or former Miami coach Randy Shannon when tabbing a new leader for the defense.

"I wish that I could put a timeframe on it," he said Tuesday. "It's really complex, given that you have to invest time in recruiting and some teams are still playing in the NFL. It's really hard to say.

"Certainly, the quicker the better. What we're not going to do is try and compromise who we get to hurry it up."

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 215

senracjr writes:

Hahaha You guys don't know squat! Shannon is going to be the next DC at Tennessee!

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

What is this gentleman's history at UT?

mountainbrook writes:

In other words, nobody knows anything and it is all just rumor.

CrankE writes:

"In this business, you stand in the paint, take shots and get better."

You must be thinking of basketball. Could that be why WVU scored a basketball like 70 points? Hmmmm.

My head says, "Move along, nothing to see here." My gut though says that the less sense it makes, the more likely it is to happen.

How's the bamboo?

tulelakevol writes:

Not surprised. Fits right in with the "new" era of accepting mediocrity.

ROCKYTOP10ECVOL writes:

www.footballscoop.com is reporting that Shannon has been hired as the new DC. Waiting on conformation from UT... supposedly the team has already been informed of the hire.

tn_rockytop writes:

yea some nfl DC i think the wait is going to be worth it.

rockypop writes:

Not many recruits are going to care about a 26-yr. history of coaching when all they hear about is a Big East team hanging 70 on Steele's defense just two days ago. That's gotta be a deal breaker.

jjsteel writes:

in response to I_Bleed_Orng:

What is this gentleman's history at UT?

Kevin Steele played linebacker at UT in the 70's.
Went to Furman one year then transferred to UT.
Also played high school ball with "Chief".

volpreacher writes:

This is a smoke screen while they wait for Shannon to sign on the dotted line. Shannon is on the way. When that happens, UT jumps into the mix next year for the SEC East as long as the team stays healthy. Go Vols!

Olcrow writes:

in response to senracjr:

Hahaha You guys don't know squat! Shannon is going to be the next DC at Tennessee!

I can only hope you're right,true you can't judge a body of work on one game and give WV's offense credit,but I'm afraid a let down like that against a good SEC team might result in 100 points scored

ROCKYTOP10ECVOL writes:

R. Shannon smoke is really getting thick. Looks like it could be for real. That would be an excellent hire.

suttree writes:

Why not demote Dooley to DC and find a new head coach.

orangeman1 writes:

I am actually excited for the first time in a while. This is the kind of decision that makes or breaks a head coach. I just hope he picks the right people for the job and with the offense being older UT could look good next year.

jobrando#216494 writes:

What a stupid article when it's widely known Shannon has accepted and bringing Barrow.

RoadTrip writes:

Just like KNS to put up an article with 2 day old information that will be disproved by Monday at the latest and possibly tomorrow.

tthatishcray writes:

this article is useless.

GloryDays writes:

Do they still have a NCAA coaching convention in January?

LifetimeVolFan writes:

in response to suttree:

Why not demote Dooley to DC and find a new head coach.

Agree. Actually, I think I would drop him to a position coach, and then hire a DC and HC.

FWBVol writes:

in response to jjsteel:

Kevin Steele played linebacker at UT in the 70's.
Went to Furman one year then transferred to UT.
Also played high school ball with "Chief".

Steele also was the Tennessee DB coach under Johnny Majors in 1987 and 88.

Hrockytop writes:

God I hope it's not Steel..Why is UT so high on this guy? Have you ever heard of Clemson being mentioned as a solid defensive team! If UT/Dooley hire's him it will be a yawner and the demise of Dooley.

Shannon has a solid and impressive resume. Granted it was in the ACC but better than Steel's! Shannon has the experience, resume, record and been in the South Fla area for many years. Could be a HUGE recruiting asset.

It's a "No Brainer"...Shannon. Make a statement UT.

Vol43 writes:

So who is right? Footballscoop or KNS. I'm going with footballscoop. KNS has a bad track record.

AZvolFan writes:

This is a what have you done for me lately kinda business, and lately, K.S. let his defense give up 70 points....how many good recruits will want to play for that coach?

volfanlostnbama writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

What a stupid article when it's widely known Shannon has accepted and bringing Barrow.

REALLY...I am with you in this line of thinking!

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

Just googled "Randy Shannon" and found a report that he has signed a 6 yr deal with UT.

SIMSVOL writes:

in response to volpreacher:

This is a smoke screen while they wait for Shannon to sign on the dotted line. Shannon is on the way. When that happens, UT jumps into the mix next year for the SEC East as long as the team stays healthy. Go Vols!

Hope it is Shannon or someone of his caliber. Not Steele. But one good DC does not make an SES East contender overnight. Going to take another season for that. Be realistic and patient - unlike most ignoramasses on here - and the VOLS will be back on top soon enough. Go VOLS!

SIMSVOL writes:

a Kevin Steele hire would be the worst, bone-headed hire possible - given the timing. Recruits would bolt and we would have an over-the-hill DC...

AllVol1 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

What a stupid article when it's widely known Shannon has accepted and bringing Barrow.

jobrando: Would you car to share your sources? I would love to believe you, but I need a reason to do so.

If you are just going on cyber-chat-driven gut intstinct or wishful thinking, then I hope it comes to pass, but caution you from saying that it is widely known.

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to volfaninbuckeyeland:

Just googled "Randy Shannon" and found a report that he has signed a 6 yr deal with UT.

Correction--5 yr deal.

Vol43 writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Knoxville is a nice town to visit. Hope he enjoys his stay. Thanks for your input.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to LifetimeVolFan:

Agree. Actually, I think I would drop him to a position coach, and then hire a DC and HC.

Vols,

These 2 guys sound like a real match for each other. They probably agree on LOTS of things.

AllVol1 writes:

Agree with anyone who feels the momentum of a Shannon hire and the drag of a Steele hire. I know Steele is an alum, but that is not enough. Shannon will set things on fire. Man, I hope these rumors have some truth to them.

UT-fan-in-New-Mexico writes:

in response to volpreacher:

This is a smoke screen while they wait for Shannon to sign on the dotted line. Shannon is on the way. When that happens, UT jumps into the mix next year for the SEC East as long as the team stays healthy. Go Vols!

Not going to happen until Cheney is gone. The defense is not biggest problem. Fire Cheney and may the Vols have a chance in the east next year.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to volpreacher:

This is a smoke screen while they wait for Shannon to sign on the dotted line. Shannon is on the way. When that happens, UT jumps into the mix next year for the SEC East as long as the team stays healthy. Go Vols!

I'm hearing the same thing from a guy pretty close to the situation. I don't know much about him but he should help the recruiting and had several good defenses in the past. Whoever it is I hope it's someone with proven experience.

Go Vols! Get the Coaches and Recruits and keep on improving!

bbmon13#478091 writes:

in response to suttree:

Why not demote Dooley to DC and find a new head coach.

Now there's a comment from someone that makes sense!

Suttree for Mayor of the Message Board!

Olcrow writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I heard he was seen on the strip faxing a love letter to you,Jethro. Silly Zook mail doesn't even deliver where you live.

FLVOL_79 writes:

Lets just hope there aren't any Miami U-esque ponzi schemes or other program related problems that are a staple of Floriduh sports...if this guy is hired.

Hrockytop writes:

These must have been posted by Clemson players, coaches, and fans...

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

The HuffingtonPost article is from 2010.

Tacomeat writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

What a stupid article when it's widely known Shannon has accepted and bringing Barrow.

Who is Barrow?

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

tartar, I think there were only 2 games in which the Vols failed to score a td-Ala & SC. There were, however, several games in which they failed to score at all during the 2nd half.

RaineyVol writes:

i think our team will be fine... I think Shannon will become D coordinator and then when he takes the talent we have and turns it into a crazy good defense, Dooley gets fired and Shannon takes over as head coach...we have a really good team when healthy, we killed Cincy when healthy and vandy loses to them.. so when healthy we are good!

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to I_Bleed_Orng:

The HuffingtonPost article is from 2010.

The date at the top says January 5, 2012

and then I scrolled down and saw the 2010 date.

I guess you just can't believe anything you see on the internet.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

I figure we should know something by Monday if not before.

I'm about to get excited about this Randy Shannon thing!

Rocky Top Now and Forever!

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to Grantlands_Red_Beans_and_Rice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let's just wait an see big boy! I think that's just wishful thinking on your part. The Vols will be back soon and I know that hurts you deeply....you being soft and all! LOL!

Go Vols! The heck with the rest!

txsvol#372416 writes:

Let me get this straight. Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian fires his whole defensive staff following Baylor's laying 67 points on them in San Antonio's Alamo Bowl last week. So, CDD is going to replace the departing DC and LB coaches with one of our alums who is DC of a team that had 70 laid upon them? Horrible choice, IMO. Try selling that choice in recruits' living rooms over the next month! If we can land Randy Shannon, and if he can bring along Michael Barrow, (Check out his hit on Tamarick Vanover on YouTube) then we have a definite upgrade in perception, as well as reality, in keeping our recruiting class together/adding super stars to it over the next month. And, let's face it--we need an across-the-board upgrade in talent more than we need to start over with a new head coach right now. Hiring Shannon would help upgrade, while firing CDD, which some of you guys are advocating, would really set us back another 3-4 years. BTW, that post about Shannon's agreeing to come to UT for $1 mil annually was from TigerDroppings, and is 2 days old. Since it was not announced, I'll believe it only when I see it. So, does anybody have more current information? Go Vols! SAVol

arkyvol writes:

what's this b.s. about 'resumes'?

one look at our head coach proves that they are about as relevant to the athletic department as sat scores.

I_Bleed_Orng writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

The date at the top says January 5, 2012

and then I scrolled down and saw the 2010 date.

I guess you just can't believe anything you see on the internet.

No problem babe. Happens to the best of us.

This Randy Shannon thing could be even bigger than I thought. If you google his name everyone wants him. Very little negativity about him, mostly from when Miami fired him. Haven't seen this much good press about one person from so many different sources in a long time.

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