AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele understands the business side of college football. He just doesn’t necessarily agree with it.
On Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Auburn’s crazy 18-13 win over LSU that went down to the closing seconds, LSU announced it was relieving Les Miles of his duties as coach.
Last season, Steele was on the opposite sideline during the battle of the two Tigers, working under Miles as LSU’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Steele, who usually watches game film early Sunday morning, was unusually energetic late Saturday night after facing off against his former team. He learned of the news on Sunday afternoon.
“My thoughts and prayers are with he and his family. They were very good to my family,” Steele said. “I think from a philosophical standpoint, because, this is just personal, it is a personal thing — from a philosophical standpoint I will say this, this is an education business at the end of the day. We have 18-to-22-year-olds at an educational institution and we’re teachers at the end of the day and because of that, at this time in the process and everybody, they do what they want to do, but philosophically personally I just don’t believe in it.”
Steele approached Miles about leaving for Auburn immediately after their team beat Texas Tech in the 2015 Texas Bowl. Miles said prior to Saturday’s game that he was “relatively shocked” about Steele’s departure, but understood and wished him well.
Miles took over in Baton Rouge in 2005, two years after then-head coach Nick Saban won a BCS national title. In 12 seasons, Miles went 114-34 and became the second-winningest coach in school history (.770). He added his own BCS championship in 2007, never missing a bowl appearance.
After the loss to Auburn on Saturday night, in which quarterback Danny Etling’s game-winning touchdown pass was overturned (an official review found there was no time remaining on the clock), LSU fell to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in SEC play.
Athletics director Joe Alleva announced LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron would take over as LSU’s interim head coach for the remainder of the year.
“I think (Ed would) be the first to tell you that to get a shot like that, for that reason, it’s not what you’re trying to make happen,” Steele said. “But he’s a good football coach, he’s a good person, he’s a good leader. He’s got experience of doing that and did well.”