Luke Butts Named Head Coach of the Westminster College Blue Jays Football Program


Fulton, Mo. – Jan. 3, 2024: Luke Butts of Antioch, Illinois, was named head coach of the Blue Jays Football Program during a press conference at 11 a.m. in the Coulter Science Center Lecture Hall on the campus of Westminster College.

The significant announcement follows an extensive national search that took place after the retirement of Head Coach John Welty, who ended his 24-year career with the Blue Jays at the conclusion of the 2023 football season.

Butts comes to Westminster with an impressive record after serving 11 years at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. He recently completed his seventh year as the Foresters’ defensive coordinator and sixth as linebackers coach after directing the cornerbacks for the previous five seasons.

During his tenure with the Foresters, Butts served as academic coordinator, where under his leadership, Forester Football achieved a team GPA of 3.00 for the first time in school history. He also was Lake Forest’s special teams coordinator for five years and served as the staff’s recruiting coordinator. Butts earned the opportunity to serve as associate head football coach in 2021.

Under his guidance as associate head coach and defensive coordinator, the Foresters won back-to-back Midwest Conference Championships for the first time in school history in 2021 and 2022, in turn qualifying for the NCAA Division III tournament in successive seasons. Additionally, with Butts’ assistance, the team’s overall record since 2021 has been an impressive 26-6. This past season, his defense led all of NCAA Division III in scoring defense, third down percentage, total defense and passing efficiency defense. This success has led to Butts recently being named one of five finalists for the 2023 Footballscoop Division III Coordinator award.

Derek Zander, Westminster’s Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Athletics Advancement and Strategic Programs, said Butts is the right person to lead Blue Jays football for a number of reasons, including his direction of Lake Forests’ defense, which in recent years has scored in the top 20 nationwide.

“We are excited for Luke and his family to join the Westminster community, the athletic department and the Blue Jays football program. He has a proven ability to recruit high-achieving student-athletes who desire a rigorous academic and athletic experience,” Zander explained, adding, “During the search process, it became very apparent that Luke was a great fit for Westminster. I look forward to supporting Luke in his efforts to build a football program of which our students, community and alumni can be proud.”

Butts earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and a minor in legal studies from Lake Forest College in 2012. He then received a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis in positive coaching, in 2018 from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The energetic coach began his career in 2012 as an assistant coach at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky.

Butts is excited to settle in Fulton with his wife, Danielle, daughters Sydney and Lainey, and a new baby who the family will eagerly welcome in February.

“My family and I are excited to join the Westminster community, and I would like to thank President Lofe, Derek Zander and the rest of the search committee for this opportunity. I had a wonderful experience throughout this process, and I look forward to working with the entire campus community as we strive to create the best experience possible for our Blue Jay student-athletes on and off the field as well as in the classroom,” Butts said, adding, “To my family, former players, staff and coaches, I cannot thank you enough, and to the Blue Jay Nation: Let’s get to work!”

ABOUT THE BLUE JAYS AND WESTMINSTER COLLEGE: The Department of Athletics at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, boasts 19 varsity sports teams and is a member of the NCAA Division III, the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster College is ranked prestigiously by The Princeton Review as one of the “Best 150 colleges in the Midwest” for 2024. New graduates experience a more than 90% placement rate within six months of graduation, while Westminster alumni are in the top 16% nationwide for graduate earnings. The only National Liberal Arts college in Missouri, Westminster has long been recognized for its focus on educating and inspiring students to make an impact on the world around them. Find out more about Westminster College by visiting our website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Sarah Backer at 573-220-9038 or






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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.