COLUMBIA -- The man who figured out how to stop Clemson's offense will now help the Tigers stop their opponents. Alabama defensive head coach Kevin Steele was hired as Clemson's defensive coordinator on Friday. It was Steele's Crimson Tide defense that in August held the ninth-ranked Tigers' vaunted "Thunder and Lightning" backfield duo of James Davis and C.J. Spiller to zero yards net rushing in a 34-10 victory at the Georgia Dome. That defeat set the stage for Clemson's stunning fall and led to longtime coach Tommy Bowden stepping down in midseason. Swinney took over on a interim basis in October. He won four of his team's final five regular season games to earn the job outright. Steele is the latest coach with Alabama connections to join Swinney's staff. Swinney -- a former Crimson Tide player, graduate, assistant and Alabama native -- had previously brought on his former position coach Woody McCorvey and staffers Danny Pearman and Charlie Harbison. Steele's defense this season was a huge reason why Alabama started 12-0 and rose to No. 1 in the country. But the Crimson Tide lost their final two games to national champion Florida in the Southeastern Conference title game and to undefeated Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Steele is expected to be officially introduced Monday, although he's been seen around campus for several days. He sat alongside Swinney last Tuesday night when the basketball Tigers took on Alabama. "I am very excited to join Dabo Swinney's staff at Clemson," said Steele, a native of Dillon. "It feels great to return to the state of South Carolina. I have recruited this state for many years and feel at home in this area." Katie Hill, Clemson's associate athletic director for internal affairs, said in an e-mail that terms of Steele's contract were not yet available. Steele takes over for Vic Koenning, Clemson's defensive leader the past four seasons who left for Kansas State last month. Swinney wouldn't guarantee Koenning's job beyond the Tigers' Gator Bowl appearance. Steele also will coach linebackers. Defensive assistants Ron West and David Blackwell coordinated the defense leading up to the 26-21 loss to Nebraska on New Year's Day. Steele spent the past two seasons with Nick Saban at Alabama. This year's group ranked third nationally during the regular season in total defense (256.9 yards a game), fourth against the rush and sixth in fewest points. His group this year included three players who were voted to The Associated Press' all-SEC first team this season in tackle Terrence Cody, linebacker Rolando McClain and safety Rashad Johnson. Alabama's defense turned heads this season with their performance against the Tigers. Clemson didn't get an offensive touchdown, while Davis gained just 13 yards and Spiller 7. Saban thanked Steele for his dedication to Alabama and skill the past two years. "We've known each other for a long time and he has always been a close friend through the years," Saban said in a statement. "Although we are sorry to see them go, we wish Kevin and his family all the best at Clemson. He will do a great job as he always has." Before Alabama, Steele served as executive head coach and linebackers coach at Florida State (2003-06). Steele served as Baylor's head coach from 1999 until 2002. Steele worked in the NFL as an assistant with the Carolina Panthers for four years. He also has coached at Nebraska, Oklahoma State and at Tennessee, his alma mater. Swinney called Steele one of the country's most respected coaches. "He is a perfect fit for this staff," Swinney said.