Butler new USC special teams coach

Spurrier Jr. named new recruiting coordinator

jkendall@thestate.comFebruary 23, 2011 

John Butler

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PHOTO

It has been a busy month for John Butler.

Twelve days after being hired as a defensive assistant by the NFL’s Houston Texans, Butler accepted South Carolina’s special teams coordinator job. Butler took a position with the Texans after spending four seasons as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Minnesota.

“We think John Butler is an excellent special teams coach,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said in a statement on Wednesday. “He had good success at the University of Minnesota. Our coaching staff was impressed with his knowledge and with his eagerness to do the job here at South Carolina. We look forward to having him join our staff.”

Spurrier also announced he has made his son Steve Spurrier Jr. the Gamecocks’ new recruiting coordinator. South Carolina lost its special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator this month when Shane Beamer left to join his father’s Virginia Tech’s staff.

Spurrier Jr., who begins his seventh season on the USC staff, will retain his duties as wide receivers coach and passing-game coordinator.

When Beamer’s departure was announced, Spurrier said special-teams experience would be the biggest factor in his hire. Butler has coached special teams for the past 10 years.

“It’s a great opportunity to work for coach Spurrier, for the University of South Carolina and to coach in the best football conference in college football,” Butler said in a statement. “It will be a tremendous challenge for me, one that I embrace. I look forward to doing a great job with the kicking game at South Carolina.”

Butler, 37, consistently had Minnesota’s special teams unit ranked near the top of the Big Ten but lost his job after the 2010 season. Minnesota coach Tim Brewster was fired during the 2010 season.

Butler began building his reputation as a kicking-game specialist at Harvard, where he was on the same staff with Gamecocks strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald. Harvard scored five special teams touchdowns in 2004.

“John is an intense coach,” Fitzgerald said. “Very smart, very well-prepared.”

Butler served as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Harvard from 2003-06. He was the safeties coach and special teams coordinator at Southwest Texas State from 2001-02.

The 1995 graduate of Division III Catholic University broke into the coaching ranks as the secondary coach during his senior year before taking over as defensive coordinator in 1996.

He was a graduate assistant at Texas in 1996 and ’97.

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