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Clemson defensive coordinator Steele leaving

By Pete Iacobelli

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 12 2012 1:19 p.m. MST

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele won't return to the team.

Steele said Thursday he had left the Tigers after three seasons to pursue other coaching opportunities. Steele and the defense had come under heavy criticism after allowing a bowl-record 70 points in their embarrassing loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl last week.

Clemson's defense allowed 28 or more points in seven of its final eight games.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney thanked Swinney for his efforts. Swinney faced a similar situation last winter after Clemson went 6-7 with a struggling offense. He let go of coordinator Billy Napier and replaced him with Chad Morris, whose revamped scheme led the Atlantic Coast Conference in yards passing and set a school record for points.

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