Butler lands former Centerville defensive coordinator as football coach

After 19 seasons of coaching for seven programs in four states, John Puckett has seen most everything that confronts a high school football coach. But taking over at Butler is a first.

“You just kind of want to see if your belief system works and you get the itch to run a program,” said Puckett, who was Centerville’s defensive coordinator last season. “At Butler we have a young administration in the district and the school. They have a lot of pride in the community. They gave me a shot and I’m going to give them everything I’ve got.”

Butler announced that Puckett had been hired as head coach last season. He succeeds Nathan Hyatt, who resigned after two seasons and a 9-11 combined record.

A Chaminade Julienne graduate, Puckett played for former Eagles coach Jim Place from 1992-94. He was a go-to assistant for Ron Ullery at Centerville and returned to the Elks last season as an assistant for Brent Ullery’s debut head coaching season at Centerville.

Puckett also previously was a varsity co-coordinator at Hamilton and defensive back coach at CJ.

Currently an intervention specialist at Centerville, Puckett also was an Indiana probation officer when he was an assistant coach at Richmond High School.

He’ll be at least the second new Greater Western Ohio Conference head coach for the 2018 season. Shawn Lamb resigned after last season following 13 seasons as Lebanon’s coach.

Butler is lumped with Troy, Sidney, Piqua, Tippecanoe and Greenville in the GWOC American North.

“Not only is it a lot of good football, but good tradition,” he said. “And we’re all similar-type towns, which is good. I’m excited to get in there and get after those storied programs that are already there.”

Butler appeared to be an emerging GWOC program when Hyatt took over in the 2016 season when the Aviators started out 4-2. Butler finished 5-5 that season and slumped to 4-6 last season. Butler was Division III last season.

“In a deep field of qualified candidates, John’s passion and edge that he will bring to the program really stood out,” Butler athletic director Jordan Shumaker said in a statement. “John has extensive experience as a coordinator at one of the most storied programs in the state, and I am excited for what he will bring to Butler football.”

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