Ex-UW, NFL player Butler comes home to Lakes

todd.milles@thenewstribune.comApril 17, 2014 

Out of the blue, Dave Miller got a phone call at his Lakes High School football office a month ago.

On the other line might very well be the final addition that gets the Lancers’ defense back to being the best in the 3A South Puget Sound League.

The man calling in his husky voice was, well, a former Husky — Hillary Butler, a 1989 Lakes graduate who played on the University of Washington’s 1991 national title-winning squad under the late Don James.

Butler, 43, had been in a few NFL camps, even seeing action for the Seattle Seahawks in 1998, playing in seven games. He also played for Frankfurt in NFL Europe (1996-98).

The past two seasons, Butler had been the defensive coordinator at Sehome High School in Bellingham.

“Even then, I wished I ... was living in Tacoma,” Butler said. “I’ve got my son living with me this year, and with him going to Lakes, I decided to come back to the neighborhood.”

Miller said Butler will coach that position group, which includes his son, Bomani Thames, who will be a junior at Lakes next season.

“Hillary contacted me three weeks ago that he was back in the area,” Miller said. “We reconnected a little bit to find out where his heart was ... and I got instantly excited about the opportunity for our kids to get better.”

In other coaching moves:

 • Two-time SPSL boys basketball coach of the year Kevin Olson, who spent 14 seasons at Decatur and led the Gators to the state semifinals in 2008, is leaving for the opening at Auburn Riverside.

Olson replaces Jason Brown, who served a suspension last season for two separate coaching infractions.

 • Thomas Ford Jr. will be the new football coach at Stadium, replacing Jess Nelson.

Ford served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Puget Sound last season. Before that, he was the recruiting coordinator at Southeastern Oklahoma State.

He was a former letterman in football at Linfield College and was the team captain during the Wildcats’ run to the 2004 national title.

 • Speaking of Nelson, he has a new job, too — as Life Christian’s football coach.

Nelson spent seven seasons at Stadium before stepping down at the end of 2013.

Before that, Nelson played for Pacific Lutheran University’s national championship team in 1999.

He succeeds Tim Kuykendall, who was the Eagles’ football coach last season and before that a successful baseball coach at Auburn and Curtis.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com @ManyHatsMilles

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