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Keith Butler
Defensive Coordinator
College:
Memphis
Experience:
17

Biography

Keith Butler
Defensive Coordinator

Keith Butler is in his first season as the team’s defensive coordinator, after being promoted to the position on January 13, 2015.  

Butler had served as the team’s linebackers coach for 12 seasons (2003-2014). He was originally hired by the Steelers on January 28, 2003, after serving the previous four seasons (1999-2002) as the linebackers’ coach of the Cleveland Browns. Butler remained on the Steelers’ staff following Mike Tomlin’s hiring in January of 2007.

Keith Butler
Defensive Coordinator

Keith Butler is in his first season as the team’s defensive coordinator, after being promoted to the position on January 13, 2015.  

Butler had served as the team’s linebackers coach for 12 seasons (2003-2014). He was originally hired by the Steelers on January 28, 2003, after serving the previous four seasons (1999-2002) as the linebackers’ coach of the Cleveland Browns. Butler remained on the Steelers’ staff following Mike Tomlin’s hiring in January of 2007.

Butler and Tomlin previously worked together at Memphis in 1996, when Butler coached the linebackers, defensive ends and special teams units, and Tomlin served as the Tigers’ defensive backs coach.

Since Butler arrived in Pittsburgh in 2003, he has been instrumental in the development of the Steelers’ highly touted linebacking corps. He was honored in 2008 when he was named NFL Linebacker Coach of the Year by Pro Football Weekly.

In 2014, the linebacking unit was led by Lawrence Timmons, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl. The iron man started all 16 games on the season, and has started a team-best 69 consecutive regular-season games. Timmons led the Steelers with 132 tackles, which was good for second-most in the AFC. It marked the fourth time in the last five seasons he recorded at least 100 tackles in a single season.

Butler also was reunited with James Harrison in 2014. Harrison was signed early in the season due to a number of injuries sustained by the linebacking group. He recored 5.5 sacks on the year and moved into second place on the team’s all-time sacks list with 69.5, since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Harrison also tied Jason Gildon for the most-multi sack games in team history (17). 

In 2013, linebackers Timmons and Jason Worilds led a unit that lost two veterans, Larry Foote and LaMarr Woodley, to season-ending injuries. Timmons led the team with a career-high 155 tackles. Worilds led the team with a career-high eight sacks.

Butler’s linebackers helped Pittsburgh’s defense secure the NFL’s number-one ranking in 2012. Five different linebackers each recorded four or more sacks in 2012 for the first time in team history, since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Timmons had a memorable 2012 campaign, as he became the first Steeler to lead the team or tie for the team high in tackles, interceptions and sacks since Joey Porter in 2002.

Butler’s guidance helped Harrison become one of the league’s most elite performers. Harrison, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, earned two straight team MVP awards (2007-08), recorded the longest interception return in Super Bowl history, a 100-yarder for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII, and five straight Pro Bowl Selections (2007-11). Harrison still holds the team record for sacks in a season, a career-high 16 in 2008.

Butler’s coaching also guided Woodley, who owns an NFL record for posting two sacks in each of his first four postseason games. Besides Harrison, Woodley is the only player in team history to record 10 or more sacks in a season for three straight years (2008-10). Harrison and Woodley have accounted for two of the top four sack totals by a Steelers’ duo in team history. The two teamed up in 2008 to produce the most sacks in a single-season by a duo (27.5).

Prior to joining the Browns’ staff, Butler spent nine years coaching in the college ranks, beginning at his alma mater, Memphis, where he coached linebackers from 1990-97, and also coached defensive ends and special teams (1995-97). He then served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Arkansas State in 1998.

Butler was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 1978 NFL Draft and played linebacker for 10 seasons (1978-87), all with Seattle. He started 132-of-146 games in his career, and still ranks second on the club’s all-time tackles list with 813.

A three-year starter at inside linebacker for Memphis, Butler led the team in tackles his junior and senior seasons. He finished his collegiate career with 384 tackles and seven interceptions. He was named a 1977 Associated Press All-American and played in the 1977 Senior Bowl and Blue-Gray All-Star Game. Butler was born in Anniston, Ala. He and his wife Janet have three sons, Blake, Brandon and Brett.

1990-1994
University of Memphis
Linebackers

1995-1997
University of Memphis
Linebackers/Defensive Ends & Special Teams

1998
Arkansas State University
Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers

1999-2002
Cleveland Browns
Linebackers

2003-2014
Pittsburgh Steelers
Linebackers

2015
Pittsburgh Steelers
Defensive Coordinator