It was the players who swayed Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. He was sitting in his office on Tuesday afternoon, making calls to recruits and still undecided about his future when he heard shouts of disappointment and "Tell me it ain't so!" coming down the hallway. The rumor had spread that Steele was leaving for Tennessee.
Some were in tears.
"It broke me down," Steele said.
Safety DeAndre McDaniel came into his office chomping angrily on a lollipop and said: "Talk to me, coach."
Steele is a coaching veteran who has made a career out of picking up and moving. But not this time.
"I've chased career dreams before," he said. "That's when I just said, 'You know what? I like doing what I'm doing where I'm doing it right now.'
“There’s been a lot of things talked about and said about my future in coaching and where that would be in lines of being offered jobs, how much jobs paid, along those lines. The bottom line is this: Coaches are always involved in possibilities of being one of many candidates and sometimes a strong candidate to be somewhere. That happens to coaches all the time. This happened to become public. I wish it hadn’t, but it did. The bottom line is, at the end of the day, I’m excited about the kind of players we have at Clemson, the progress we’re making, and the direction things are headed. I just felt like the best place for me to do what I do was at Clemson. At the end of the day, it’s about the players. And at the end of the day that’s why I’m at Clemson.”