Kirk Botkin begins his fourth year with the Gamecocks. He was tabbed as South Carolina’s linebackers and Spurs coach on January 13, 2012.
In 2014, Botkin’s linebacking corps was led by sophomore Skai Moore, who paced the team with 93 tackles, the most for a Gamecock since Jasper Brinkley logged 107 in 2006, and the second-straight year he has headed the squad. Three of the top four tacklers on the team, Moore, Jonathan Walton and Sharrod Golightly, worked under Botkin’s guidance. The linebackers and Spurs combined to lead the team in sacks while recording five interceptions. Botkin’s troops have totaled 14 interceptions over the past two seasons, including seven by Moore.
With a slew of rookie linebackers, Botkin oversaw a group that showed tremendous progress as the 2013 season unfolded. Despite listing just one junior, three sophomores, two redshirt freshmen and three true freshmen among the three-deep at his three positions, the Gamecocks were able to rank in the nation’s top-20 in both total defense (19th) and scoring defense (12th). Carolina linebackers picked off nine passes during the season. True freshman linebacker Skai Moore paced the team in tackles with 56 and in interceptions with four, en route to Freshman All-SEC honors. Junior Spur Sharrod Golightly was a second-team All-SEC selection.
In his first season with the Gamecocks, Botkin had a veteran group to work with, as his top five players, linebackers Shaq Wilson, Reginald Bowens, Damario Jeffery and Quin Smith, along with starting Spur DeVonte Holloman, were all seniors in 2012.
Botkin returned to the collegiate coaching ranks after spending the previous two seasons coaching high school football at Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas. He spent the 2008 and ‘09 seasons coaching the defensive ends and special teams at his alma mater, Arkansas, under Bobby Petrino, including one season alongside Gamecocks’ defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.
Botkin was the Razorbacks’ first All-SEC performer as a tight end in 1992 and ‘93, and served as a captain during his senior season. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education. He was later named to the Razorbacks’ All-Decade team for the 1990s after logging 87 career receptions for 819 yards and five touchdowns.
Botkin spent four years in the NFL, including playing for Bill Parcells in New England (1994), Jim Mora in New Orleans (1994-95) and Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh (1996-97). After an injury ended his career, he began his coaching career at his hometown high school of Robert E. Lee High in Baytown, Texas in 1999. In 2000 he worked as a graduate assistant at Rice University in Houston.
From 2001-05, Botkin served as an assistant coach at Jacksonville State University, first as a tight ends/offensive tackles coach, then as an outside linebackers/special teams coach. While at JSU, the squad won the Ohio Valley Conference in 2003 and ‘04 and coached seven all-conference performers.
Between stints at Jacksonville State and Arkansas, Botkin spent two seasons coaching linebackers and special teams at Louisiana-Monroe. In 2007, he helped the Warhawks record their first non-losing season in 14 years, including a win at Alabama.
Botkin and his wife, the former Rebecca Holloway, have three children, Lane, Ty and Brynn.