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Kevin Steele Is About to Complete the Biggest $900K Finesse Job in the History of College Football

It's finally Day One of a new era on Rocky Top, as Josh Heupel is in the midst of his first full day as Tennessee's new head football coach. It's been more than a month of speculation about Jeremy Pruitt's status, then who a new athletic director would be and then straight into a coaching search.

But caught up in the middle of all that was the fact that Pruitt was somehow allowed to hire former Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele onto the Vols' staff, despite the fact that Pruitt would be fired less than a week later. Why? Because this is Tennessee and there are no rules. Steele signed a two-year contract worth $450,000 per year, but the kicker is that it was fully guaranteed.

So after serving as Tennessee's acting head coach during its search for a full-time replacement for a couple weeks, Steele is likely to be unretained by Heupel and will collect a $900,000 check on his way out the door. Two weeks of work — where he wasn't even really allowed or encouraged to do anything — for just shy of $1 million.

I know the buyouts head coaches have now are insane, but at least those guys do a pretty demanding job for a few years before they're bad enough to get fired and get a portion of the rest of their contract. This guy waltzed in fresh off a nice buyout of his own from Auburn and is going to leave $900,000 richer before he's even had a chance to wear much of his new Vols gear.

I say this every time UT does something like this — or like paying a search firm $120,000 for a coaching search in which your athletic director hires the guy who worked for him less than a week ago — but if you ever get the chance to do business with the University of Tennessee, do it. It is the financial opportunity of a lifetime.