UT Martin Football promotes Brandon Butcher to Defensive Coordinator

 UT Martin Football promotes Brandon Butcher to Defensive Coordinator

Brandon Butcher (photo: UTM Sports)

UT Martin head football coach Jason Simpson has announced the promotion of Brandon Butcher as the Skyhawks new defensive coordinator.

Butcher has been a member of the UT Martin coaching staff since 2020.

Butcher takes over defensive duties for the Skyhawks after former defensive coordinator Chris Polizzi resigned to take the same position at American Athletic Conference member Tulsa.

Since joining the Skyhawk staff prior to the 2020-21 season, Butcher has held several different titles before being elevated to defensive coordinator prior to the 2023 season. Along with retaining the role of linebackers coach, he has also held roles as the team’s defensive run-game coordinator while adding special teams responsibilities.

During his tenure at UT Martin, Butcher has been a part of back-to-back OVC regular season championships (2021 and 2022) and the program’s first Division I playoff victory (2021). In 2022, UT Martin led FCS in turnovers gained (28) and interceptions (17) through the regular season while also ranking among the nation’s leaders in defensive touchdowns (four, 3rd), turnover margin (+9, 5th) and fumbles recovered (11, 8th). The Skyhawks also paced the league in defensive touchdowns, first downs defense, fumbles recovered, interceptions, team sacks, team tackles for loss, rushing defense, opponent first downs and opponent third down conversions while ranking second in scoring defense.

Individually, Butcher has mentored three All-OVC honorees, including 2022 OVC Defensive Player of the Year and consensus All-American John H. Ford II – the program’s first OVC Defensive Player of the Year during its Division I Era. Joining Ford with All-OVC first team honors were standout linebackers TJ Neal and Rob Hicks.

During the 2021 OVC championship campaign, the Skyhawks ranked among OVC leaders in sacks (21, first), scoring defense (25.0 ppg, second), rushing defense (148.5, second) and interceptions (17, second). His mentorship included John H. Ford II garnering All-OVC first team honors.

In an abbreviated 2020 campaign, the defense proved to be a dynamic unit which ranked among OVC leaders in third down conversion defense (29.3 percent, first), blocked kicks (6, first), scoring defense (22.0, second), red zone defense (72.7 percent, second), fourth down conversion defense (37.5 percent, third), first down defense (116, second), team tackles for loss (7.7, second), total defense (330.9 ypg, third) and rushing defense (128.9, third).

Before joining UT Martin, Butcher served as an assistant coach at Southern Miss working with the nickels following a stint as a defensive analyst and defensive graduate assistant with the Golden Eagles from 2019-20.

Prior to his time in Hattiesburg, he spent three years at his alma mater Coastal Carolina where he served as a defensive graduate assistant and defensive analyst where he worked with safeties and linebackers from 2016-19.

His first collegiate job came as a defensive graduate assistant and student assistant at East Carolina from 2014-16 where he coordinated the offensive scout team and worked with defensive linemen and outside linebackers.

Prior to his work in the college ranks, he spent one year as defensive coordinator with the Palmetto Havoc – a semi-professional football team in Myrtle Beach, SC from 2013-14.

Butcher graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Coastal Carolina in 2014 while earning master’s degrees in exercise science and sports science from East Carolina (2016) and education from Coastal Carolina (2018).