Jeff Linder has been named the 19th head coach of the Northern Colorado men’s basketball program announced Sunday by Director of Athletics Darren Dunn and University President Kay Norton.
A press conference to formally introduce Linder is scheduled for Monday at 3:00 p.m. in the Champions Room of Butler-Hancock Athletic Center. Fans are welcome and encouraged to attend. Free parking will be available in the lot right outside of Bank of Colorado Arena. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m.
“We are so proud and excited to hire a coach of Jeff’s caliber,” Dunn said. “Nationally, he is highly respected as a leader of young men, a tremendous recruiter with strong ties to Colorado, the region and internationally. Coach Linder will lead this program with integrity and will develop our basketball student-athletes to be Champions for Life. I could not be more excited for the future of the Northern Colorado men’s basketball program. I welcome Coach Linder, his wife Kelli along with their four children Adison, Makalyn, Jordan and Devon to the Bear family.”
Linder comes to UNC after six seasons at Boise State with the last three years as the Associate Head Coach of the Broncos and brings over 15 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Bears.
Linder is also no stranger to the Big Sky Conference or the state of Colorado. He served under Randy Rahe’s staff at Weber State and played his high school basketball at Centaurus HS in Lafayette, Colorado, going on to play one season at Mesa State. After his freshman year, Linder transferred to Western Colorado State where he played three seasons under coach Bob Hofman. As a Mountaineer, Linder earned All-Rocky Mountain Conference honors, both on the court and in the classroom, three times.
Linder helped guide Boise State to two NCAA tournament appearances and the team’s first Mountain West Conference Championship during his tenure.
In 2014-15, his second season as Associate Head Coach, the Broncos tied the school record for wins, going 25-9, including a 14-1 record in the team’s final 15 regular season games. Boise State won 20-or-more games in five of Linder’s six seasons.
Renowned for his offensive game plans, Boise State saw immediate production with Linder on the bench. The Broncos led the conference in scoring in three of his six seasons and finished second in 2014-15. Boise State averaged 76.2 points per game in 2013-14, the second-highest season average the Broncos in nearly 40 years.
In his first year with at Boise State, Linder helped head coach Leon Rice steer the Broncos to one of its most successful seasons in school history, one that culminated in an appearance in the conference tournament championship game and just the fourth postseason appearance in the last 17 years.
“I could not be happier or more excited to have the privilege of leading the Northern Colorado men’s basketball program,” Linder said. “The opportunity to be a head coach at the Division I level and work with tremendous student-athletes has always been a goal. I fully understand what it means to be in this position, what it means to the community and the entire city, and to all the alumni locally and nationally. I look forward to returning home to the state of Colorado and continuing to build this program into something everyone can be proud of.”
Prior to Boise State, Linder served as an assistant and associate head coach at the University of San Francisco.
In 2009-10 at USF, the Dons posted a 12-18 record, including a 9-4 record at home. San Francisco was able to record a memorable highlight on Jan. 30, as the Dons knocked off No. 8 Gonzaga in an 81-77 overtime thriller, which snapped the Bulldogs’ West Coast Conference regular-season winning streak of 27 games.
During his stint at Weber State, Linder helped the Wildcats to a 36-26 overall record, and in 2006-07 the Wildcats won the Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament titles and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Linder also recruited Damian Lillard to Weber State, who was selected sixth-overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Linder got his start in collegiate coaching as the assistant director of men’s basketball operations at Colorado under head coach Ricardo Patton. After one season at CU, Linder was hired as an assistant coach on David Moe’s staff at Emporia State, where he spent three seasons. Emporia State went 22-5 during his final campaign and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Linder moved from Emporia State to Midland Junior College in Midland, Texas, where he spent two seasons as an assistant coach to Grant McCasland. Linder helped coach Midland to a 53-16 record during his tenure, and in 2005-06 the team finished 26-10 and made an appearance in the “Elite Eight” at the national junior college tournament.