The Tennessee Vols announced the hiring of Mike Ekeler as the program’s special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach this week.

The hiring of Ekeler means that Tennessee has officially parted ways with Kevin Steele, who was hired by previous head coach Jeremy Pruitt in January. Steele signed a two year deal worth $900,000.

Pruitt was fired in the following weeks, and Steele served as the program’s interim head coach.

After not getting a look as head coach, or even defensive coordinator under new head coach Josh Heupel, Steele decided to stick around and collect his pay check until the Vols forced him to leave.

Not a bad strategy if you’re Steele.

Now that Steele has been let go, it means Tenenssee owes him the remainder of his two year contract, which comes to $860,870. He’ll be paid in monthly installments through January 31, 2023. The buyout is mitigated if Steele finds another job (per Rocky Top Insider’s Trey Wallace).

Tennessee is paying over $10 million total in buyouts to have a new coaching staff and new athletic director in Knoxville.

Featured image via John Reed-USA TODAY Sports


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