Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden's addition of former Baylor head coach Kevin Steele to his coaching staff in January 2003 drew immediate praise from college football experts coast-to-coast, and the results of his effort both on the field and on the recruiting trail has been dramatic. Steele quickly earned the respect of both the players and his coaching peers. Bowden added the title of executive head coach to Steele's list of responsibilities this spring.
Steele was the head coach at Baylor from 1999-2002 and came to FSU prior to the 2003 season. A 1981 Tennessee graduate, Steele coached the linebackers for the NFL's Carolina Panthers from 1995-98 before taking the head coaching position at Baylor. He has also served as an assistant coach at Nebraska, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and New Mexico State.
This year, Steele's linebacking corps has been rated the best in the country by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. All three starters return in A.J. Nicholson, Ernie Sims and Buster Davis along with a group of reserves that would start at most schools. Michael Boulware, who was a linebacker under Steele in 2003, was a finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year honors in his first professional season with the Seattle Seahawks.
Steele has also earned a reputation as an outstanding recruiter. He was named the Rivals.com National Recruiter of the Year in February for his work in helping Florida State land a 2005 signing class ranked No. 1 nationally by some recruiting services.
Steele spent his freshman year at Furman before transferring to Tennessee, where he was a member of Johnny Majors' 1978 and 1979 squads. He stayed on as a student assistant in 1980 and then as a graduate assistant in 1981. He was promoted to outside linebackers coach in 1982.
Steele then moved to New Mexico State, where he served as recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach in 1983. From 1984-86, he coached linebackers and tight ends at Oklahoma State. He returned to his alma mater in 1987 and spent two years as the defensive backs coach for the Volunteers.
From 1989-94, Steele coached the linebackers under Nebraska legend Tom Osborne. During his 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.
In 1995, Steele made the jump to the NFL as the linebackers coach for Carolina. Under head coach Dom Capers, the Panthers reached the NFC Championship game in their second season (1996). After four years with Carolina, Steele was hired as head coach at Baylor in 1999.
The 47-year-old Steele is a native of Dillon, S.C. He and his wife, Linda, have an 18-year-old son (Gordon) and a 16-year-old daughter (Caroline).