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Mike Linehan joins Montana staff as defensive line coach

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Feb 28, 2023

(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)

MISSOULA — University of Montana head coach Bobby Hauck announced Tuesday that Mike Linehan has joined the program as the Grizzlies' next defensive line coach.

Linehan comes to Montana after spending three years as a graduate assistant on the defensive line at San Diego State, helping the Aztecs produce one of the most constantly strong fronts in the Mountain West Conference.

With his move to Montana, he returns to the Northwest, the place he began his collegiate career as a player and a place with deep family ties.

Linehan began his playing career at Idaho, the alma mater of his father and long-time NFL coach Scott Linehan. His brother Matt Linehan is also an Idaho alum and is the Vandals' current wide receivers coach.

After three years playing at Idaho, Mike transferred to North Texas for his final two seasons of eligibility in 2018 and 2019 before starting his coaching career at San Diego State.

"Mike has a great background in football and a great background in a couple different systems. I really like his enthusiasm for coaching the D-line. He's technically sound and understands what we want to get done," said Hauck. "He also comes from a family of Idaho Vandals, so we're excited to get a Griz out of that group."

In three years helping coach the San Diego State D-Line, the Aztecs were one of the top three teams in the Mountain West against the rush and in total defense.

In his first two seasons as a GA at SDSU the Aztecs led the league in rush defense, allowing an average of just over 98 yards per game on the ground in 2020 and just over 80 yards per game in 2021. In 2022 the Aztecs were second in the conference in rush defense at an average of 113 yards per game.

As a linebacker at North Texas, Linehan totaled 20 tackles in 22 games and helped the Mean Green advance to the New Mexico Bowl. At Idaho, he saw action in 21 games for the Vandals and set a career mark in solo tackles with five in 2016's season-opening win over Montana State. That year he also helped the Vandals defeat Colorado State 60-51 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to cap a 9-4 season, their best as an FBS member.

He graduated from North Texas with a degree in integrative studies and earned his masters from San Diego State in liberal arts and sciences.

"I'm excited to join a program with such a rich tradition of winning, and it's great to be back in the Pacific Northwest," Linehan said. "I'm also excited to work with a group that has a lot of experience and is eager to play. I can't wait to get rolling."

Linehan replaces long-time defensive coach and Montana alum Barry Sacks who retired from coaching football after 42 seasons.