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Feb. 23, 2011

Former Minnesota Golden Gopher assistant coach John Butler has been named special teams coordinator at the University of South Carolina, head football coach Steve Spurrier announced today.

“We think John Butler is an excellent special teams coach,” said Coach Spurrier. “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.”

Butler, who was hired two weeks ago by the Houston Texans as a defensive assistant, spent the last four seasons as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Minnesota. Last year, junior linebacker Gary Tinsley received honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from the conference’s media and two Butler-coached linebackers received all-conference recognition in 2009.

As special teams coordinator, Butler presided over one of the best units in the Big Ten during his tenure in Minneapolis. The Gophers averaged better than 22 yards per kick return in three of his four seasons and held their opponents to less than 20 yards per return in two seasons. Minnesota’s punt coverage unit was one of the best in the country in 2008 and 2009, holding opponents to an average of just 8.1 yards per return in that two-year span.

Butler helped then-freshman Troy Stoudermire rank second in the Big Ten and 26th nationally in 2008 with a 25.8-yard kick return average and coached second-team All-Big ten punter Justin Kucek in 2007 when Kucek averaged 42.7 yards per punt.

Butler has coached special teams for the last 10 years, serving as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Harvard from 2003-06 and 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 the defensive coordinator in 1996. He was a graduate assistant at Texas in 1996-1997 under both John Mackovic and Mack Brown.

“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,” said Butler, “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, and his wife, Carmen, are expected to arrive in Columbia later this month.

In other news, Steve Spurrier Jr. has been given the additional duties as recruiting coordinator. Spurrier Jr., who begins his seventh season on the staff, will retain his duties as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator.