Jan. 23, 2014
Over the next few weeks, UConnHuskies.com will take an in-depth look at the new football coaching staff head coach Bob Diaco has assembled. The series will include feature stories along with special edition episodes of "The Blitz" for each coach. Next up, Special Teams Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Wayne Lineburg.
By Steve Lewis
Having spent 18 years coaching college football at different schools and under different titles, UConn’s new special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Wayne Lineburg is one of the most experienced coaches entering the new staff.
Lineburg, who previously coached at Richmond, is one of three new coaches to leave the state of Virginia for UConn, joining defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter (Virginia) and co-defensive coordinator Vincent Brown (Virginia) as members of the Husky coaching staff under head coach Bob Diaco.
For the past four seasons, Lineburg was with the Spiders, serving 2010 as the offensive coordinator, 2011 as the interim head coach and 2012-2013 as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.
In 2013, Richmond’s offense ranked 24th in the FCS under Lineburg, averaging 441.4 yards per game, which was good for second best in the Colonial Athletic Association.
He also spent three seasons with the Spiders from 2004-2006 as the offensive play-caller, boasting one of the most impressive offenses in the FCS. In 2005, Richmond gained a school-record of 4,957 yards of offense and scored 44 touchdowns, while averaging 381.3 yards per game.
Between tenures with the Spiders, Lineburg spent three seasons in Charlottesville, coaching wide receivers for two years and running backs for one. It was during his time at Virginia that he met Diaco and their relationship formed.
“I worked with Bobby in the 2007-2008 season at UVA, I got to know him there and stayed in touch with him over the past couple years during his time at Notre Dame,” said Lineburg. “He’s a really sharp, organized, energetic and enthusiastic guy who is going to do a great job here. I’m fortunate to get the chance to work with him.”
Lineburg’s experience on both levels of Division I football gives him an interesting perspective as he is able to see the similarities and differences between the two levels.
“Really coaching-wise between FBS and FCS, it’s not that different. I’ve coached at both, I played at Virginia, I was a graduate assistant at Virginia and coached there and I was at Richmond too. The only difference is there are 63 scholarships (FCS) versus 85 (FBS),” said Lineburg.
The new special teams coordinator did cite one aspect of the college game that is a little different between the FBS and FCS. “Recruiting is a little more intense at this level, but other than that, there are a lot of good coaches at both levels so there isn’t any drop-off there,” said the former Richmond coach.
Lineburg, a four-year quarterback at Virginia who graduated in 1996, got his coaching career started as an assistant at William & Mary. From there, he spent two years at Virginia as a graduate assistant before rejoining William and Mary’s staff as running backs coach between 2000 and 2003.
Though Lineburg’s experience is geared towards the offensive side of the ball, he has had previous opportunities to run the punt team at Richmond. “I’ve run the punt team multiple years, which is probably the most stressful and the one you have to put the most time into,” said Lineburg.
“I’ve worked in every unit in some fashion or another, but I look forward to coaching special teams. Bobby has done it before, so I’ll use some of the things he has in the past at Virginia,” added the special teams coordinator.
When making the decision to spend his career in coaching, Lineburg’s biggest influence was his father, Norman, who was a long-time coach at Radford High School. Norman is in the Virginia High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and he had the opportunity to coach Wayne during his play days.
“He influenced me in every way. Growing up, I had three older brothers and we all played for him there and he was a very successful coach,” said Lineburg about his father. “He did it the right way, treating kids well. He taught me a lot about how to treat people the right way when coaching.”
UConn football was in need of a spark last season and according to Lineburg, the realm of possibilities is wide open this coming year. The Huskies have not attempted a fake punt or field goal for over ten years, since a young Randy Edsall toed the sidelines. Lineburg thinks that, if appropriate, UConn might use some trickery this season to find that spark.
“We’ll consider everything. We’ll be aggressive and do whatever gives us an advantage to win,” said Lineburg. “We’re always going to look for a way to attack. We’re not just going to be stagnant, we want to make plays.”
If it appears Lineburg is busy at work, he can be just as busy at home, taking care of his four-year old daughter Addyson and soon-to-be one-year old Alexis at home. Luckily, Lineburg has his wife, Tracy, to help him. The couple met at William & Mary when Tracy was doing her graduate work and Lineburg was coaching.
Though his free time is rare, Lineburg likes to go jogging and get outside as much as possible. “I’m going to have to find a way to do it here. I don’t know about the jogging part out in the cold, but we can figure that out,” joked Lineburg.
The special teams coach also mentioned his interest in history, reading as many books as possible. More than anything, however, “I love football, I love coaching, and I love recruiting.