Acoustic Neuroma Forces Former Four-Star Lineman Into Coaching Role
Illini will open 123rd football season on Saturday at 11 am CT
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Pre-Spring Football Notes
New Coaching Staff Meets with Media
Former Illini All-American center Luke Butkus spent one season at Illinois as an assistant coach. He was hired in January 2012 as part of Tim Beckman's first staff at Illinois.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Butkus spent five seasons working in the NFL, the last two with Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks as a quality control assistant working with the offensive line. Prior to that, he worked as an offensive assistant/assistant offensive line coach with the Chicago Bears and Lovie Smith from 2007-09.
Butkus began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the University of Oregon from 2005-06, helping the Ducks to appearances in the 2005 Holiday Bowl and the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl.
Signed by the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of college, Butkus spent most of the 2002 season on the San Diego Chargers' practice squad. He played two seasons in NFL Europe, for the Rhein Fire in 2003 and the Cologne Centurions in 2004, before moving into the coaching ranks.
A three-year starting center at Illinois from 1999-2001, Butkus was a third-team All-American by the Associated Press in 2001 and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection in 2000 and 2001.
As a team captain in 2001, Butkus helped lead the Illini to an outright Big Ten title and an appearance in the Sugar Bowl, anchoring an offensive line that paved the way for then-school records in total points, points per game and sacks allowed. He also helped lead the Fighting Illini to a win in the 1999 MicronPC.com Bowl.
He is the nephew of the greatest linebacker in football history, Dick Butkus, who played at Illinois from 1962-64 and enjoyed an eight-year Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears from 1965-73. Luke's cousin, Mark Butkus, lettered at Illinois from 1980-83, earning All-Big Ten honors in 1983, while his brother, Josh, also graduated from Illinois.
A graduate of Bloom Township High School in suburban Chicago, Butkus is the first former Illini player to return to Illinois as a coach since former defensive back Chris Green was on staff in 1999 and 2000. Butkus served as an instructor at the University of Illinois summer football camps from 2002-04 and has done so at the Revie Sorey & Jerry Azumah All-Pro Football Camps since 1995.
Butkus and his wife, Nici, have two sons, Benjamin and Byron.
THE BUTKUS FILE