To no one's surprise, the Pittsburgh Steelers have named Keith Butler their new defensive coordinator.
A perennial coordinator-in-waiting behind legendary coordinator Dick LeBeau, Butler brings 12 years of experience as the Steelers' linebackers coach to the job.
A 3-4 linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, Butler was drafted out of the University of Memphis in the second round of the 1978 draft and played 10 seasons for the Seahawks as an inside backer. He started 132 games and made 813 tackles.
Butler turned to coaching linebackers at his alma mater in 1990 and remained there until 1997, crossing paths with a young graduate assistant there named Mike Tomlin in 1996.
Tomlin moved on to Arkansas State in 1997 and then Butler became that school's defensive coordinator in 1998. The next year Butler became linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns, worked there for three years, and was hired by the Steelers as linebackers coach on Jan. 28, 2003.
The Steelers have denied interview requests for Butler with the reported promise of some day replacing LeBeau as coordinator. That day is today, as Butler signs a new three-year contract with the team.
The frontrunner to replace Butler as linebackers coach is Jerry Olsavsky, who played inside linebacker for the Steelers from 1989-97 and has been a defensive assistant with the team the past five seasons.
“We are excited to announce Keith Butler as our defensive coordinator,” said Tomlin. "Keith has been an integral part of our defensive game planning and schemes for several years and we look forward to him moving into the role of calling the defense. His passion and energy will be important to us taking the next steps to being one of the top defenses in the NFL.”
“It’s the dream of a lifetime,” said Butler. “There are only 32 of these jobs on this Earth. I am excited about the opportunity and I look forward to getting this process started immediately.”