When Kevin Steele was named Baylor University's 23rd head football coach on December 18, 1998, he knew that, while fulfilling a life-long dream to become a college head coach, he was also inheriting the task of rebuilding a once-proud football program.
Now entering his fourth season at Baylor, Steele has spent the past three years putting in place a solid foundation for the football program, one that he expects to bear fruit soon. In the business of construction, several factors go into building a quality product. A builder must use excellent materials, skilled craftsmen and top-notch equipment.
In embarking on the construction of the Baylor football program, Steele has steadily gathered the necessary tools to turn out a finished product. He has recruited talented players and made them better athletes through an enhanced strength and conditioning program. As a result, the players have bought into Steele's positive attitude about the direction of Baylor football and team morale has never been better. Steele has also assembled an experienced and diverse coaching staff dedicated to the student-athletes' success both on and off the field.
Realizing that excellent facilities are essential to the program's growth in the areas of performance and recruiting, Steele pushed for improvements to Baylor's existing facilities. An expansion of the locker room and weight room at Floyd Casey Stadium was completed priot to the start of the 2001 season, while the grass practice fields have been lengthened and resurfaced.
With a solid group of players, coaches and facilities in place, Steele is ready to build on that foundation.
In his quest to become a head coach and, in turn, the builder of Baylor's football future, Steele learned from the best. Steele spent his freshman year at Furman, but transferred to Tennessee and played linebacker for coach Johnny Majors from 1978-79. Upon graduation, Majors kept Steele on the staff as a graduate assistant. He held that position until 1981 when he received a promotion and spent the 1982 season tutoring the Volunteers outside linebackers.
Steele then moved to New Mexico State, where he served as recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach in 1983. From 1984-86 he was a member of Pat Jones' Oklahoma State staff where he coached linebackers and tight ends.
Following the stint in Stillwater, Steele returned to Tennessee in 1987 to handle defensive backs, and spent the next two years there before heading to Nebraska to coach under the legendary Tom Osborne. During Steele's six years in Lincoln, the Cornhuskers went 60-11, appeared in six bowl games, won four conference championships and captured the 1994 national championship with a 13-0 record.
One of Steele's key recruits for the Huskers was All-America quarterback Tommie Frazier, who currently serves as Baylor's running backs coach.
In 1995, Steele made the jump to the NFL's expansion Carolina Panthers where, as the team's linebackers coach, he quickly earned the reputation as one of the league's top young assistants.
Carolina also offered Steele another opportunity to be associated with success. The Panthers made NFL history by reaching the NFC Championship Game in just their second season of existence.
At each stop along his career path, Steele has diligently prepared himself for the day he would become a college football head coach, increasing his knowledge of the game and how to run a program. A bulk of that knowledge came from role models Majors, Jones, Capers and Osborne.
During his stint in the NFL, Steele learned the finest details of football strategy and the keys to evaluating talent. The lessons he learned along the way have paved the way for Steele's success today.
In the three years since he became Baylor's head coach, Steele?s teams have shown signs of steady progress. After a 1-10 debut season and a 2-9 record in year two, Baylor went 3-8 in 2001 and finished fourth in the Big 12 Conference in passing offense.
Steele?s whirlwind speaking tours receive rave reviews from Bear fans, while the Baylor players have responded positively to his highly organized and demanding off-season workout program.
Steele's offensive and defensive philisophies are based on solid execution and doing what players can do best, emphasizing his belief the game should be fun for players and fans.
An excellent and well-known recruiter, Steele maintained his NCAA recruiting certification even while coaching in the NFL. He flatly labels Texas high school football and its coaches the country's best, a claim backed up by the fact that 72 of the 76 high school players signed since his arrival have hailed from the Lone Star State.
Players who sign with Baylor find a coaching staff dedicated to their complete development as young men. Steele has proven he is a coach who knows there is much more to life than football. He stresses the importance of using his position to make a positive impact on his players, helping to lead them to the right choices at critical points in their lives. Baylor University has a mission which mirrors his own faith, and Steele believes Baylor is the perfect place to achieve the goals he has set forth.
Steele hails from a football coaching family. His father, Pete, is a retired high school coach. His uncle, Tommy White, coached college football at Oklahoma State. His brother, Dale, is a veteran coach currently on the Bear staff and another brother, Jeff, is an assistant athletic director at Kansas State. Steele was born March 17, 1958 and grew up in Dillon, S.C. He graduated from Dillon High School in 1976 and the University of Tennessee in 1981. He and his wife, Linda, have a 15-year-old son, Gordon, and 13-year-old daughter, Caroline.
The Kevin Steele File
Born: March 17, 1958
Hometown: Dillon, S.C.
Wife: The former Linda Truax of Dillon, S.C.
Children: Gordon, 15, and Caroline, 13
- 1999-: Head Coach at Baylor
- 1995-98: Assistant with NFL?s Panthers
- 1989-94: Assistant (Linebackers) at Nebraska
- 1987-88: Assistant (Defensive Backs) at Tennessee
- 1984-86: Assistant (Linebackers/Tight Ends) at Okla. State
- 1983: Assistant (Linebackers) at New Mexico State
- 1982: Assistant (Outside Linebackers) at Tennessee
- 1980-81: Graduate assistant at Tennessee
- 1976: Furman
- 1978-79: Tennessee
- 1981 Garden State
- 1982 Peach
- 1984 Gator
- 1985 Gator
- 1987 Peach
- 1990 Fiesta
- 1991 Citrus
- 1992 Orange
- 1993 Orange
- 1994 Orange
- 1995 Orange
High School: Dillon (S.C.) High School
College: University of Tennessee (1981)
NAMED BAYLOR?S HEAD COACH
December 18, 1998