Linehan with the Detroit Lions in 2012
September 17, 1963|
|High school:||Sunnyside (WA)|
|Head coaching record|
|Regular season:||11–25 (.306)|
|Coaching stats at PFR|
Scott Thomas Linehan (born September 17, 1963) is an American football coach who is the play caller and offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He was previously the head coach of the St. Louis Rams and the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, and Detroit Lions. Prior to becoming an NFL coach in 2002, Linehan was a college assistant coach for 13 seasons.
Linehan was born and raised in Sunnyside, Washington, about three hours southeast of Seattle, in the lower Yakima Valley of eastern Washington. He was a three-year starter at quarterback at Sunnyside High School, where his father was principal. Linehan graduated from high school in 1982 and accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Idaho in Moscow, about two hundred miles (320 km) to the east. He was a member of Dennis Erickson's first recruiting class as a collegiate head coach. Linehan's brothers, Ron and Rick, had played at Idaho in the 1970s, and were team leaders on defense.
Linehan was a quarterback for the Vandals under head coaches Erickson (1982–85) and Keith Gilbertson. He redshirted in 1982 and was the back-up to senior All-American Ken Hobart in 1983. Linehan became the starter in 1984 as a redshirt sophomore, but broke his clavicle early in the second game and missed most of that game and two additional starts. The Vandals struggled to a 2–5 record, then won four straight to finish 6–5 and third in the Big Sky. The season concluded with a 37–0 victory in the rivalry game with Boise State in Bronco Stadium.
Linehan led the Vandals to a 5–1 record as a starter in 1985, then a stress fracture in his right foot required surgery and sidelined him for the season. Idaho won the Big Sky title and had consecutive Division I-AA playoff appearances in 1985 and 1986. Finally healthy for a full season as a fifth-year senior in 1986, Idaho went 8–3 in the regular season and he threw for 2,954 yards, ending his college career with over 7,000 yards. Not selected in the 1987 NFL Draft, Linehan signed a rookie free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987, but a shoulder injury quickly ended his playing career when he was cut at the start of his rookie training camp.
Early coaching career
Linehan began his coaching career as a volunteer coach at Sunset High School in Portland in 1987. At this time, he also was helping a friend with his business, selling class rings for Jostens.
Linehan's college coaching career began in 1989 as the wide receivers coach at his alma mater under first-year head coach John L. Smith. After two seasons in Moscow, Linehan coached a year at UNLV, two at Idaho again as coordinator, five at Washington in Seattle under Jim Lambright, and three at Louisville under Smith.
NFL coaching career
Linehan took his first NFL job as the offensive coordinator/ wide receivers coach with the Minnesota Vikings in 2002. After three seasons in Minneapolis, Linehan served in a similar capacity with the Miami Dolphins in 2005 under Nick Saban, then was hired as head coach by the St. Louis Rams on January 19, 2006.
Linehan inherited a team in transition. Most of the Rams' stars from earlier in the decade had gone elsewhere, and those who were still there had noticeably lost a step. Nonetheless, Linehan's tenure started out on a promising note, as the Rams went 4–2 in their first six games. However, a four-game losing streak in October and November effectively ended any chance of making the playoffs. Despite this slump, the NFC West was so weak that year that while they finished 8–8, missing the division title by a single game. However, the Rams regressed to 3–13 in his second season. Years of questionable draft and free-agent acquisitions caught up with the team, and the season degenerated into a fiasco due to a rash of injuries to the offensive line. The season was also marked by disputes with star players such as Steven Jackson, Torry Holt, and, most notoriously, quarterback Marc Bulger. Holt and Jackson openly feuded with Linehan on the sidelines during games. The easygoing Linehan didn't discipline them, leading to criticism that he wasn't willing to assert his authority.
The bottom fell out in 2008. After an 0–3 start in which the Rams were outscored 116–29, a significant departure from the days of "The Greatest Show on Turf", Linehan benched Bulger in favor of Trent Green for their game against the Buffalo Bills. The move did not work; the Rams lost 35–14 after allowing 25 unanswered points in the second half. Linehan was fired hours later, tallying an 11–25 record in his 36 games as head coach.
Linehan was announced as the offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions on January 23, 2009, by new head coach Jim Schwartz. On December 30, 2013, Linehan was relieved of his duties as the Detroit Lions offensive coordinator following the firing of Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.
On January 27, 2014, the Dallas Cowboys hired Linehan to call plays for the offense, and was later given the title of passing game coordinator. Incumbent offensive coordinator and play caller Bill Callahan remained on staff, but relinquinshed play calling duties and was given the new title of running game coordinator. Linehan serves as the de facto offensive coordinator by leading offensive meetings and calling plays during games. He was formally promoted to offensive coordinator upon Callahan's departure at the end of the season. Linehan had previously worked with Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett when they served as assistants on the staff of Nick Saban's Miami Dolphins in 2005.
Head coaching record
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|STL||2006||8||8||0||.500||2nd in NFC West||-||-||-||-|
|STL||2007||3||13||0||.188||4th in NFC West||-||-||-||-|
Linehan is the youngest of seven children of William and Margaret Linehan; he has three brothers and three sisters. His father, Bill (1921–98), was born in Plummer, Idaho, and was the high school principal in Sunnyside, after serving in World War II with the U.S. Army in the Pacific. Both parents and a sister attended the University of Idaho, as did brothers, Ron and Rick, who also played football at Idaho. Ron (1950–2005) was a three-time All-Big Sky linebacker (1969–71) and was selected in the 1972 NFL Draft; he was a high school coach in the Portland area until his death at age 55. Rick had ten career interceptions as a Vandal defensive back (1976–78).
Linehan and his wife of over 20 years, Kristen, have two sons: Matthew, and Michael. He is of Irish descent and is a devout Catholic. Matthew and Michael both currently play college football at the University of Idaho, as their father and uncles did. Matthew is a quarterback and Michael is a linebacker. These are his only children.
NFL head coaches under whom Linehan has served:
- Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys (2014–present)
- Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions (2009–2013)
- Nick Saban, Miami Dolphins (2005)
- Mike Tice, Minnesota Vikings (2002–2004)
College head coaches under whom Linehan served:
- John L. Smith, Louisville (1999–2001)
- Jim Lambright, Washington (1994–1998)
- John L Smith, Idaho (1992–1993)
- Jim Strong, UNLV (1991)
- John L Smith, Idaho (1989–1990)
College head coaches under whom Linehan played:
- Linehan credits Dennis Erickson, his head coach at Idaho (1982–85), as the "biggest influence" on his attack-style offensive philosophies.
- Fellow NFL head coach Tom Cable and ESPN analyst (and former NFL player) Mark Schlereth both blocked for Linehan during his college career at Idaho.
- "Idaho signs quarterback, linemen". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. February 11, 1982. p. 1B.
- "Former Idaho linebacker Linehan dies at 55". Spokesman-Review. September 28, 2005.
- Lions Name Scott Linehan as Offensive Coordinator, Detroit Lions press release, January 23, 2009 (retrieved January 23, 2009)
- "Linehan sidelined". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 17, 1984. p. 16.
- Barrows, Bob (October 7, 1984). "Time runs out on Idaho comeback as Reno hangs on, 23-17". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1C.
- Boling, Dave (September 19, 1985). "Want trouble? Linehan will pass". Spokesman-Review. p. C1.
- Barrows, Bob (November 18, 1984). "Everything goes Idaho's way, including Gem trophy". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. p. 1C.
- "Football (fall 1984)". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1985. p. 56.
- "Broken bone in right foot may sideline Linehan for Saturday's game with UM". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. October 18, 1985. p. 28.
- "Vandal Linehan has surgery". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. October 22, 1985. p. B4.
- "Football (fall 1985)". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1986. p. 130.
- "Football (fall 1986)". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1987. p. 186.
- O'Neil, Danny (October 11, 2006). "Linehan continues legacy in St. Louis". The Seattle Times. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- Jacobson, Bryan (August 22, 1992). "Back in the fold". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Idaho-Washington. p. 1D.
- "UI loses football coach". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. March 2, 1994. p. 2D.
- Scott Linehan bio Archived 2006-01-22 at the Wayback Machine., St. Louis Rams, (accessed online 2009-01-26)
- Scott Linehan Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks - Pro-Football-Reference.com
- "William Robert Linehan". findagrave.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "Ron Linehan". findagrave.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "A rough night for the Linehans". OregonLive.com. September 25, 2006. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
- "About Scott Linehan". Retrieved October 21, 2012.
- Transcript of introductory press conference as Ram's head coach Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine., St. Louis Rams, January 19, 2006 (accessed online 2008-01-26)