AU vs ARK

Gus Malzahn and Kevin Steele, right, celebrate after a score during Auburn's game at Arkansas on Oct. 19, 2019. Malzahn announced Wednesday that Steele had signed a new three-year contract with Auburn.

AUBURN — Kevin Steele is set to make $2.5 million per year under his new contract, a source confirmed to the Opelika-Auburn News on Thursday, after the defensive coordinator signed a new three-year deal with Auburn announced Wednesday.

That salary makes him the highest-paid assistant coach in the country, and matches the contract former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda had in Baton Rouge before he headed off to be the new head coach at Baylor this winter.

ESPN’s Chris Low first reported the $2.5 million figure on Thursday morning. Clemson DC Brent Venables made $2.2 million in 2019 and Texas A&M DC Mike Elko was making $2.1 million, per a database of salaries compiled and kept by USA Today.

Aranda topped the list before he left for Baylor. Now Steele does.

Steele spent 2019 as the nation’s fourth-highest-paid assistant coach making around $2 million on a deal that was set to expire after the 2020 season. Wednesday, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn announced that Steele had signed a new contract with the team taking him through the 2022 season.

Steele’s defenses have been stellar at Auburn ever since he came to the Plains ahead of the 2016 season. The Tigers have finished in the top 20 in scoring defense in all four years with Steele leading the defense.

Auburn’s offense will be led in 2020 by new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, and Malzahn. Malzahn and Morris both also spent time as the nation’s most highest-paid assistants in their days as coveted offensive coordinators at Auburn and Clemson, respectively.

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