O'Brien completes defensive coaching staff

January 19, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien has completed his defensive coaching staff with the appointments of Ted Roof as defensive coordinator and John Butler as secondary coach. Roof and Butler helped Auburn and South Carolina, respectively, to historic seasons the past two years.

With the addition of Roof and Butler, eight of O'Brien's assistant coaching positions have been filled, with the NCAA open recruiting period resuming last weekend. O'Brien, the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is in the process of determining the Nittany Lions' quarterbacks coach.

Roof and Butler join veteran Penn State coaches Larry Johnson (defensive line) and Ron Vanderlinden (linebackers) on the defensive coaching staff. O'Brien previously had announced four members of the offensive coaching staff: Stan Hixon (Assistant Head Coach/wide receivers), Charles London (running backs), Mac McWhorter (offensive line), John Strollo (tight ends) and).

Hixon (LSU), McWhorter (Texas) and Roof (Auburn) have been members of BCS National Championship coaching staffs the past 10 years and Vanderlinden was on the coaching staff of Colorado's 1990 National Championship team.

O'Brien is bringing several coaches to Happy Valley that he worked with during his 14 years as a collegiate assistant coach prior to joining the Patriots' coaching staff in 2007. O'Brien has previously worked with Hixon (1995-99), Roof (1998-2001 and 2005-06), McWhorter (2000-01), London (2005-06) and Strollo (2005-06) at Georgia Tech or Duke.

Roof was Auburn's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2009-11, helping the Tigers capture the 2010 BCS National Championship. He was named UCF's defensive coordinator on Dec. 8, 2011 prior to coming to Penn State. During Auburn's title campaign, the Tigers (14-0) ranked No. 9 nationally in rushing defense and 16th in tackles for loss. In the BCS Championship game, Auburn held Oregon to 19 points, 28 points below the Ducks' season average. A Georgia Tech graduate and a member of its Athletics Hall of Fame, Roof was defensive coordinator at Minnesota in 2008 and was instrumental in helping the Golden Gophers allow 135 fewer yards per game than in 2007 and improve from 1-11 to 7-5 and berth in the 2008 Insight Bowl. Roof returned to Duke as defensive coordinator in 2002-03 and was promoted to the Blue Devils' head coach from 2004-07. He also worked with O'Brien and McWhorter at Georgia Tech from 1998-2001, serving as defensive coordinator the last three years. A native of Lawrenceville, Ga., Roof began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Alabama (1987-88) and went with McWhorter to West Georgia in 1989. Entering his 26th year in coaching, Roof's portfolio also includes stints with Duke (1990-93), Massachusetts (1994-96) and Western Carolina (1997) before returning to his alma mater in 1998.

Butler comes to Penn State after helping South Carolina to the greatest season in its 118-year gridiron history. A graduate of LaSalle College High School in suburban Philadelphia, he served as the Gamecocks' special teams coordinator and coached the outside linebackers in 2011. South Carolina won a school record 11 games this past season and earned its first Top 10 finish in the polls (No. 8 in USA Today Coaches and No. 9 in AP). In the season opener, Butler's preparation helped the Gamecocks return their first punt for a touchdown since 2003. He worked with Antonio Allen, who earned Associated Press second-team All-America honors 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 and coached against the Nittany Lions his last two seasons. He worked with Roof in 2008, helping 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 under John Mackovic and Mack Brown. He is a graduate of Catholic University, where he played football and basketball.

The Nittany Lions shared the Big Ten Leaders Division title with Wisconsin and finished with a 9-4 mark during the 2011 season. Penn State played in its fourth consecutive New Year's bowl game and 44th overall. The Nittany Lions' 827 all-time victories rank No. 5 in the nation and their 27 bowl wins are third-highest.

Penn State opens its 126th season on Sept. 1, hosting Ohio University. Ohio State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Indiana, Navy and Temple also will visit Beaver Stadium this fall. For season ticket information, fans should call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 19, 2012