As much as $860,870 in severance, according to his separation agreement obtained Friday by Knox News through a public records request.
Steele’s termination letter is dated Tuesday. First-year coach Josh Heupel completed his inaugural staff this week by hiring Mike Ekeler as his 10th assistant.
Under the terms of Steele’s buyout, he’s due to receive his severance in monthly installments throughout the end of his contract, set to expire Jan. 31, 2023.
Steele has a duty to mitigate the damages. That means if he gains new employment during the term of his Tennessee contract, his salary in that new job will defray what UT owes.
Tennessee hired Steele on Jan. 12 to a two-year deal worth $450,000 annually. UT Chancellor Donde Plowman and former athletics director Phillip Fulmer signed Steele’s contract.
Steele joined then-coach Jeremy Pruitt’s staff as a defensive assistant. UT fired Pruitt for cause on Jan. 18 amid an investigation into sweeping recruiting malfeasance alleged to have occurred under his watch, and Tennessee named Steele acting head coach.
Also that day, Tennessee announced that Fulmer would resign after more than three years as athletics director.
White and Heupel had been the AD and coach, respectively, at Central Florida.