Two new assistants arrive for Gamecocks

By finding special teams coordinator and linebackers coach, final vacancy for Spurrier’s staff is for running backs

nwhite@thestate.comJanuary 13, 2012 

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier announced Friday that he has filled two of the three vacancies on his football staff.

Joe Robinson was named the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, while Kirk Botkin was named the linebackers coach.

Both coaches bring SEC experience to their new roles with the Gamecocks, who are coming off an 11-2 season that lifted them to a No. 9 final ranking in the Associated Press Top 25.

Robinson, 51, who coached at North Carolina this season, served as the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at his alma mater of LSU from 2008-10. Botkin, 40, who spent the past two seasons as a high school coach in Texas, oversaw defensive ends at his alma mater of Arkansas in 2008-09.

Robinson takes over for John Butler, who left for Penn State, while Botkin assumes the positional duties of Ellis Johnson, who took the head coaching position at Southern Miss in December. Lorenzo Ward, who coached with Botkin at Arkansas in 2008, was promoted before the Capital One Bowl to fill Johnson’s defensive coordinator role.

That leaves the running backs coaching position to fill. It came open in early December when Jay Graham returned to his alma mater, Tennessee, to fill the same job.

“We are pleased to announce Joe Robinson as our special teams coach," Spurrier said in a statement. “He has many years of experience, and his special teams had the No. 1 overall ranking in the SEC in 2009. Our special teams will be in good hands.”

Botkin, an All-SEC tight end in 1992-93 for the Razorbacks, got the seal of approval as well.

“I’m excited to name Kirk Botkin as our linebackers coach,” Spurrier said. “He has a lot of experience as both a player and a coach. I feel that Coach Botkin will bring energy, enthusiasm and good play to our linebackers.”

Both coaches announced their readiness to assume a new challenge.

“I’m excited to be here and thankful to become part of Coach Spurrier’s staff,” Robinson said. “He’s done a great job with this program, and my family is excited about this opportunity.”

Botkin sent out a similar message.

“I’m happy to be here and have the opportunity to work with outstanding coaches like Coach Spurrier and Coach Ward,” Botkin said. “I’m looking forward to bringing my family to Columbia and becoming part of the Gamecock family.”

Botkin played four seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers before moving on to a coaching career that has included stops at Rice, Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas.

Robinson’s stops have included Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Houston, Central Florida, Arizona, LSU and UNC. He coached in 2004 with Steve Spurrier Jr. at Arizona. He produced a number of special-teams performers who were selected in the NFL draft out of both Arizona and LSU.

Go Gamecocks is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service