Keith Butler

Coaching Record

Years Coached Record Win % Playoff record Playoff win %
23 215-152-2 58.54% 13-11 54.17%


Career Summary

Keith Butler was a football coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1999 to 2021, finishing his career as the defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Over his twenty-three years of coaching his teams compiled a cumulative win/loss record of 215-152-2.

Table of Contents

Playing Career

In his Junior and Senior year playing at Memphis, Butler led the team in tackles overall, finishing at Memphis with 384 tackles and 7 interceptions. Butler played in the 1977 Senior Bowl after being named a 1977 Associated Press All-American. Along with participating in that year’s Bowl game, Keith Butler appeared in the Blue-Gray All-Star Game in later weeks as well.

After college, Butler was selected in the second round of the NFL draft. From 1978-87, Keith Butler played linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks, and ranks second all time for team tackles with 813.

Coaching Career

College Coaching

Memphis University

Before coaching in the NFL, Keith Butler had 9 years of experience coaching college football, starting at Memphis. From 1990-97 Butler coached his alma mater’s linebacking squad, and beginning in 1995-97 was also in charge of the teams' defensive end squad and special teams unit.

Arkansas State University

Butler continued his coaching career at Arkansas State. During the 1998 season he took over as the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers coach, where his team finished with a record of 4-8.

NFL Coaching

Cleveland Browns

Butler was first hired as the Linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns from 1999-2002. During his first year coaching for the Browns, and the team's first year back in the NFL after a three season hiatus, the team had a franchise low 2-14 record. However, by the end of his tenure in 2002, the Browns made the playoffs, going 9-7 as one of the Wild Card teams.

Pittsburgh Steelers

After his time in Cleveland, Butler was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers as their new Linebackers coach under head coach Bill Cowher. He was retained by new incoming coach Mike Tomlin in 2007, previously working together for Memphis. In 2008 Butler was named NFL Linebacker Coach of the Year. After 12 years as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Linebackers coach, Butler was given full reins of the defense in 2014 as Defensive Coordinator

At home during the 2011 NFL season the Pittsburgh Steelers recorded 28 sacks at home, second to only 1996 with 36 sacks in the year 1996. James Harrison also benefited from the coach styling of Butler where in 2008 Harrison won Defensive Player of the Year, earned two team MVP awards in 2007-08, returned an interception for 100 yards in Super Bowl XLIII, and earned five straight Pro Bowl bids.

The previous year in 2012, the Steelers had the first ranked defense in the NFL. That year five different linebackers combined to have four sacks each, setting a franchise record. The same year Lawrence Timmons became the first player since Joey Porter in 2002 to lead or tie the team leaders with his contribution of interceptions, tackles and sacks.

When Butler’s defensive unit took a hit, losing two of the team's previous leading defensive stars to injury in 2013, Butler coached up a unit that included Lawrence Timmons and Jason Worilds as major contributors. Timmons had a career high 155 tackles with Worilds leading the team in sacks with 8, and quarterback pressures with 29. This would prove to be one of three such seasons where Timmons would achieve a similar feat.

Led by Keith Butler, Harrison and Woodley have been the beneficiary of 2 of the top 4 sack total duos, with Woodley recording three straight seasons comprising of 10 or more sacks from 2008-10. In 2008 as well, Woodley and Harrison were the team's leading duo for sacks in team history with 27.5.


Year Position Record Playoff record
2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 9-7-1 0-1
2020 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 12-4-0 0-1
2019 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 8-8-0 0-0
2018 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 9-6-1 0-0
2017 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 13-3-0 0-1
2016 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 11-5-0 2-1
2015 Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator 10-6-0 1-1
2014 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 11-5-0 0-1
2013 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 8-8-0 0-0
2012 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 8-8-0 0-0
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 12-4-0 0-1
2010 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 12-4-0 2-1
2009 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 9-7-0 0-0
2008 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 12-4-0 3-0
2007 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 10-6-0 0-1
2006 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 8-8-0 0-0
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 11-5-0 4-0
2004 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 15-1-0 1-1
2003 Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Coach 6-10-0 0-0
2002 Cleveland Browns Linebackers Coach 9-7-0 0-1
2001 Cleveland Browns Linebackers Coach 7-9-0 0-0
2000 Cleveland Browns Linebackers Coach 3-13-0 0-0
1999 Cleveland Browns Linebackers Coach 2-14-0 0-0
1998 Arkansas State Red Wolves Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers Coach 4-8-0
1997 Memphis Tigers Defensive Ends Coach / Linebackers Coach / Special Teams Coach 4-7-0
1996 Memphis Tigers Defensive Ends Coach / Linebackers Coach / Special Teams Coach 4-7-0
1995 Memphis Tigers Defensive Ends Coach / Linebackers Coach / Special Teams Coach 3-8-0
1994 Memphis Tigers Linebackers Coach 6-5-0
1993 Memphis State Tigers Linebackers Coach 6-5-0
1992 Memphis State Tigers Linebackers Coach 6-5-0
1991 Memphis State Tigers Linebackers Coach 5-6-0
1990 Memphis State Tigers Linebackers Coach 4-6-1

Coach history guide

Seasons with a championship win Seasons with a conference championship

Coach facts