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DePauw graduate Jeff Voris was hired Wednesday as Butler University's new football coach

Thursday, January 5, 2006

DePauw graduate Jeff Voris was hired Wednesday as Butler University's new football coach.

Voris is a 1989 graduate of DePauw, where he played quarterback from 1986-1989. He holds nearly every DePauw passing record, including career total offense and career passing yards.

"He was a very bright leader and a great quarterback," Former DePauw Head Coach Nick Mourouzis said. "He had great touch."

It will take someone special to turn Butler around. The Bulldogs were 0-11 last season, and have three wins in their last three seasons.

Voris is coming of an impressive five-year stint at Carrol College, where he led the Pioneers to their first winning season since 1996. Joining the coaching staff in 2001, he brought Carrol College from near nonexistence to 110 players in 2005.

"It took him five years to turn that program around," Mourouzis said. "That was rock bottom. They only had 35 players when he took over."

Voris also spent six seasons as an assistant coach at DePauw under Mourouzis from 1994-2000, where he learned the ropes of coaching and recruiting. Mourouzis said that he noticed then what he knows now -- Voris possessed the tools it took to succeed.

"There was no question that he displayed the attributes that would someday lead to head coaching experience," he said.

As a player, Voris was a three-year starter and offensive Most Valuable Player at DePauw. Handling the DePauw offense, he racked up 6,035 passing yards and 5,754 yards on total offense.

"Being a quarterback, you have a great handle of the offense," Mourouzis said. "He called some plays at the line of scrimmage for us here, back when he was playing. He had a great air of confidence about him."

Mourouzis will always remember one particular moment in 1986.

It was the 93rd battle for the Monon Bell. Only a single point separated DePauw from Wabash, trailing 24-23 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.

As the seconds ticked off the clock, DePauw attempted to bring in the field goal unit to win the game.

Time ticked off the clock.

"It was a heartbreaker," Mourouzis said.

Instead of hanging his head, mourning the loss, Voris told Mourouzis something he remembers distinctly 20 years later.

"On Monday, he said we're not going to lose to Wabash the next few years," he said.

DePauw didn't either. In his final three years, Voris led the Tigers to three straight wins over the Little Giants.

Voris becomes one of the many coaches the DePauw football program has developed across the nation. Former offensive lineman Josh Buis recently led Grand Valley State to a Division II National Championship in early December. In addition, South Putnam and DePauw graduate Todd Carter serves as an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley University.

All in all, Mourouzis estimates more than 25 former DePauw players are coaching football somewhere in the country.

"I call it the Tiger Den of coaches," Mourouzis said. "Miami has the cradle of coaches. I call this the Tiger Den of Coaches. We've got quite a few coaches around."

It will not be an easy task for Voris. Butler is a non-scholarship program, struggling to compete in Division IAA.

Bringing in Voris, after coaching at DePauw and turning Carrol College around, Mourouzis is confident Butler is headed in the right direction.

"He's an excellent football coach and an excellent recruiter," he said. "In coaching, you're only as good as your players."

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