John Butler is in his second year on the Penn State coaching staff and his first as defensive coordinator. In his 19th year of coaching, he also mentors the cornerbacks after coaching the secondary and working with the special teams in 2012. Butler inherited a secondary that lost all four starters from the 2011 season and was instrumental in developing a unit that helped Penn State rank second in the Big Ten and No. 16 nationally in scoring defense (19.1 ppg) and 28th nationally in pass efficiency defense last year. Cornerbacks Adrian Amos and Stephon Morris were 2012 honorable-mention All-Big Ten choices.
A Philadelphia native, Butler was the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at South Carolina in 2011, helping the Gamecocks win a school record 11 games in 2011 and earn their first Top 10 finish. He worked with linebacker Antonio Allen, who earned second-team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press and was the only SEC player to rank in the league's top 10 in tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. Butler was the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Minnesota from 2007-10. He helped the Golden Gophers improve from a 1-11 in 2007 to 7-5 and berth in the 2008 Insight Bowl. Butler also has coached at Harvard (2003-06), Texas State (2001-02) and Midwestern State (1999-2000) and was a graduate assistant at Texas in 1997 and '98. Butler is a 1995 graduate of Catholic University, where he played football and basketball, and began his coaching career in 1995-96. Butler graduated from LaSalle College High School with Craig Fitzgerald, Penn State's Director of Strength and Conditioning for Football, and former Nittany Lion All-Big Ten tackle Keith Conlin.