Alabama’s Rees, Steele both to make $1.9M this season

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will each make $1.9 million next season.

The two were among 11 Alabama staffers to have new contracts approved by the compensation committee of the university’s board of trustees.

Rees and Steele both received three-year deals, with Rees getting raises to $2 million in his second year and $2.1 million in his third after arriving from Notre Dame. Steele returned for his third stint on coach Nick Saban‘s staff after serving as the Miami Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator last season.

The next highest-paid assistants are offensive line coach Eric Wolford ($925,000) and assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins ($875,000). All the deals except for the coordinators are for two years.

Freddie Roach, defensive line ($775,000).

Robert Gillespie, running backs ($625,000).

Coleman Hutzler, special teams/outside linebackers ($595,000).

Joe Cox, tight ends ($425,000).

-Robert Bala, inside linebackers ($350,000).

-David Ballou, director of sports performance ($725,000).

Bob Welton, director of player personnel ($255,000).

Rees, Steele and Bala are all new hires for Saban, whose team missed the playoffs for only the second time last season. Bill O'Brien left to become offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. Pete Golding moved to Southeastern Conference Western Division opponent Mississippi to run Lane Kiffin‘s defense.

Bala replaced Austin Armstrong, who was hired as Florida’s defensive coordinator shortly after being hired as an Alabama assistant.

Alabama announces hiring of coordinators Steele, Rees

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama coach Nick Saban has hired Kevin Steele as defensive coordinator and Tommy Rees as offensive coordinator.

Alabama announced the already widely reported moves on Monday, along with the addition of inside linebackers coach Austin Armstrong.

“We are excited to bring in such a gifted group of coaches to develop our players both on and off the field,” Saban said in a statement. “Kevin, Tommy and Austin have a great mix of energy, enthusiasm and experience that will be a tremendous asset to our program. They are all excellent teachers of the game and fantastic recruiters who bring a wealth of experience and resources to our staff.”

Steele, a 39-year coaching veteran who ran Miami’s defense last season, will start his third stint on the Alabama staff. He was defensive coordinator in 2007, Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa, and head defensive coach the following season before returning in an off-the-field role in 2013.

Steele coached inside linebackers in 2014.

“My history with coach Saban goes back a long time and what he has built here at Alabama is truly amazing,” Steele said. “I understand the high expectations of both coach Saban and the program, and I am looking forward to helping continue that success.”

He replaces Pete Golding, who left for the same position at Mississippi. Steele has also run the defenses at Clemson, LSU and Auburn and is a former Baylor head coach.

Rees spent the past three seasons as Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator and the past six as its quarterbacks coach. He replaces Bill O'Brien, who left to join Bill Belichick’s staff with the New England Patriots.

“I have the utmost respect for what coach Saban has built at Alabama and the tradition of this program,” said Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback. “I’m excited to have this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting in the meeting room and on the practice field with this team.”

The 29-year-old Armstrong comes from Southern Mississippi, where he had been the youngest FBS defensive coordinator.

The financial terms of their deals are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.


Reports: Saban talks with Notre Dame’s Rees about OC job


Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees spoke with Alabama coach Nick Saban about filling a vacancy on the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff and was scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because Saban and Alabama were not making details about their search for a replacement for offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien public.

O’Brien spent the last two seasons directing the Crimson’s Tide offense and coaching quarterbacks. The former Houston Texans head coach left last month to join Patriots coach Bill Belichick in New England as offensive coordinator. O’Brien was a New England assistant before becoming Penn State head coach in 2012.

Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback, has been an assistant at his alma mater since 2017 and offensive coordinator since 2020. He also spent a year with the San Diego Chargers in 2016 before returning to South Bend, Indiana, as quarterbacks coach.

The 30-year-old Rees was wooed by Brian Kelly when he left Notre Dame for LSU and by Miami last year, but decided to stay and work for first-year Fighting Irish coach Marcus Freeman. Notre Dame finished 9-4 last season.

Notre Dame’s offense have been solid statistically under Rees, ranking 45th (last season), 43rd (2021) and 39th (2020) nationally in yards per play.

Alabama will be breaking in a new starting quarterback next season after Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young declared for the NFL draft.