As expected, the Pittsburgh Steelers named Keith Butler as their new defensive coordinator Tuesday.
“It’s the dream of a lifetime,” said Butler in a statement on steelers.com. “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.”
Butler succeeds Dick LeBeau, who resigned Saturday after 11 seasons in Pittsburgh.
Butler has been with the Steelers since he was hired in 2003 to be the team’s linebackers coach.
Butler will be tasked with improving a Steelers defense that has failed to record more than 37 sacks in each of the last four seasons. In addition, he’ll now be in charge of a defense that gave up 50 pass plays of 20 or more yards in 2014.
Butler has long been considered LeBeau’s eventual replacement and the team made sure not to let him get away several times over the course of the last five years. Butler’s latest contract was up after the 2014 season and had he not been promoted this offseason he more than likely would have sought a defensive coordinator job elsewhere.
With Butler now in charge of the defense the team is expected to remain a 3-4 unit at it’s core. However, with more and more defenses becoming hybrid in nature, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Butler attempt to follow suit.
Butler, a former NFL player himself, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 1978 NFL Draft out of Memphis. He played linebacker for 10 seasons (1978-87), all with Seattle, where he started 132 of 146 games in his career.
Butler’s coaching career began in 1990 with Memphis where he was in charge of linebackers, defensive ends and special teams. After eight seasons there he became the defensive coordinator at Arkansas State.
In 1999 Butler broke into the NFL as a linebackers coach with the Cleveland Browns and he held that job until he was hired by the Steelers.