Michigan co-defensive coordinator Maurice Linguist was named head coach of the UB football team Friday.
Linguist beat out Minnesota co-defensive coordinator Joe Harasymiak for the job, which was left vacant after Lance Leipold made the jump to the University of Kansas just seven days earlier.
At 37 years old, Linguist is set to become the fourth-youngest head coach in the FBS.
With assistant coaching experience at the Power Five and NFL levels, Linguist takes over a UB program that has won more games than any other Mid-American Conference team since 2017.
The first-time head coach is accepting the pressure of coaching a team that is in win-now mode following a 2020 MAC Championship Game loss and a Camellia Bowl win.
Here’s what UB’s new head coach brings to the table as he looks to usher in the Linguist era:
Coaching experience at nearly every level
In 14 years as an assistant, Linguist has coached at nearly every level of college football.
A former safety at Baylor from 2003 to 2006, Linguist has experience as an assistant at the Division II, FCS, Group of Five, Power Five and NFL levels.
After joining Baylor’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 2007, Linguist served as a defensive assistant for Valdosta State, James Madison, UB, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Minnesota, Texas A&M, Michigan and the Dallas Cowboys.
Linguist has found success across the country, and especially in the Queen City, where he helped UB reach the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2013. That year, as the defensive backs coach and passing coordinator, his unit ranked second in the MAC in interceptions (15), points per game (24.4) and yards per game (382.2).
Linguist’s defenses have also been successful at the Power Five level.
In his lone season at Minnesota in 2017, Linguist’s secondary was a key cog in a defense that ranked 11th in the nation at 174.5 yards allowed per game.
During his stint with Texas A&M in 2018, the Aggies ranked ninth nationally in opponent third down conversion percentage and 15th in first downs allowed.
Linguist was hired as Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator in January, but was tabbed as UB’s head coach just four months into his stint in Ann Arbor.
The Dallas native is a well-traveled coach who has experience at some of the biggest programs in the nation, something that should help him during his return to Buffalo.
Linguist is regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters and has contributed to multiple top recruiting classes.
He helped Texas A&M produce back-to-back top-six recruiting classes in 2019 and 2020, and was the lead recruiter for five-star safety Jaylon Jones, who became the first five-star defensive back to ever sign with the Aggies. Linguist also recruited seven four-star recruits for the Aggies, according to 247 Sports.
At Minnesota, Linguist was one of the main recruiters for future 2021 first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman. The defensive backs coach convinced the star receiver to commit to Minnesota over Georgia, Texas A&M, Tennessee and South Carolina, among others.
In his short time with Michigan, Linguist helped land five-star cornerback Will Johnson, who is ranked as the fourth-best cornerback nationally and is the best player from Michigan in the 2022 recruiting class, according to 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings.
Linguist also recruited four-star athlete Kody Jones while at Michigan, earning him commitments from two high-caliber high school players in just four months with the Wolverines.
Linguist’s recruiting prowess doesn’t stop at the Power Five level.
At James Madison, Linguist helped the Dukes haul in the top-ranked FCS recruiting class of 2012.
His recruiting prowess has already been on display in his first weekend at UB, as senior linebacker and second-leading tackler Tim Terry withdrew his name from the transfer portal following Linguist’s arrival.
Linguist is still faced with the challenge of retaining the seven remaining Bulls who entered the portal following Leipold’s cross-country move, but his work with Terry signals that more is to come.
With an extensive recruiting background, Linguist should be able to channel his trademark authenticity to consistently land highly-rated recruiting classes.
High praise from others
At just 37 years old, Linguist will be the fourth-youngest head coach in the nation when the season begins, a stark contrast from the 57-year-old Leipold.
Just 15 years removed from his college playing days, Linguist has an ability to relate to college athletes like few head coaches can.
Former UB All-American and Chicago Bears All-Pro Khalil Mack: “I’m beyond excited that the UB football program brought Coach Mo back. He’s a guy that will guide the young men on the field and off of it. Being around him for the time that I was, I learned his leadership qualities and character speak very loudly, positively and effectively.”
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy: “Mo Linguist is a tremendous young coach with great energy, passion and personality. He has phenomenal teaching skills and excellent personal skills. You have an outstanding football coach and an even better person.”
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh: “I am happy for Mo Linguist and his family on this opportunity to be the head coach at the University at Buffalo. We are excited for Coach Mo and know that he will do great things as a head coach. I take great pride in the success of those on our staff who have moved into head coaching positions and know that there are those presently on our staff who will move into head coaching positions in the near future.”
Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher: “[He’s a] very good recruiter on the road, guys who have coached with him and coached against him spoke very highly of him. When you meet him, it didn’t take long to know he’s gonna be a heck of a coach.”
Former UB athletic director and Auburn athletic director Allen Greene: “Mo is a remarkable leader. His ability to communicate and connect with anyone who enters his orbit has served him well throughout his career and will be a tremendous asset to UB and the Western New York community.”
A talented recruiter with a unique ability to connect with his student-athletes, Linguist will be presented with the daunting task of keeping UB on the winning track and delivering the Bulls’ first MAC Championship since 2008.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found playing video games, watching ‘90s Knicks games and arguing with people on NBA Twitter at 3 a.m.