According to a report from AL.com, Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele missed the Broyles Award ceremonies and presentation on Monday and Tuesday to interview for the head coaching job at the University of Tennessee.
The Broyles Award goes to the nation's top assistant coach annually. This year, Clemson's co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliot won the award on Tuesday in Little Rock, Ark.
The report says that Steele, who played linebacker at Tennessee from 1978-79, met with new Tennessee athletic director Phillip Fulmer on Sunday and interviewed with university representatives in New York on Tuesday who are in town to attend the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner.
"He had some conflicts with, I just presume maybe some future job opportunities, and so Kevin could not be here today," David Bazzel of the Broyles Award told AL.com on Tuesday. "He regrets it and he hates it, but we understand and coach Broyles would understand. We wish him the best he had an unbelievable year this year."
Following Auburn's loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship game on Saturday, reporters asked Steele about any potential interest he'd have in that vacancy at his alma mater.
“I was on the team there. Not a very good player, but I was on the team,” Steele said.” I got a degree from there, and I do love my school, but other than that, I haven’t been told anything. I’m working for Auburn and am proud to be doing it.
“I’ve got a pretty good job.”
The fit seems likely for Steele who not only played for the Vols but also began his coaching career in Knoxville in the early 80's as a student assistant and graduate assistant. In 1982 he coached the outside linebackers and after leaving the University of Tennessee he later returned from 1987-88 to coach the defensive backs.
Steele has been with Auburn since 2016 and this season, helping to orchestrate a Tiger defense that ranked 14th nationall in total defense and 10th in scoring defense, only allowing two opponents to gain more than 364 yards and held every opponent thus far to 28 points or less.