Buffalo tabs Michigan’s Linguist to take over football team

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Maurice Linguist was hired as the University at Buffalo’s football coach Friday night, just months after he became Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator.

Linguist joined Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan staff in January as part of an offseason overhaul following a losing season, and was to share the defensive duties with Mike McDonald.

Instead, the 37-year-old Linguist landed his first career head-coaching job in a return to Buffalo, where he spent 2012 and ’13 as an assistant under Jeff Quinn.

Linguist replaces Lance Leipold, who spent six seasons transforming the Bulls into a Mid-American Conference power before being hired by Kansas on April 30.

Linguist will be formally introduced during a news conference Monday.

Linguist is from Texas, and spent last season as a cornerbacks coach with the Dallas Cowboys. He spent the previous two years as an assistant at Texas A&M. and has 13 years of coaching experience with all but one at the college level.

Buffalo is coming off a 6-1 season, which ended with a 17-10 win over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl, and finished with the team ranked 25th. The Bulls made their first poll appearance in school history in early December when they were ranked 24th.

Leipold’s departure came shortly after Buffalo completed its spring practices, and provides Linguist little time to recruit and fill potential player losses. As many as six players, including quarterback Matt Myers, have since entered the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Myers lost the starting job last year to Kyle Vantrease, who is returning for his senior season.

The Bulls previously lost star running back Jaret Patterson, who left after his junior season to turn pro. Patterson went undrafted before signing with the Washington Football Team earlier this month.

Linguist inherits a Buffalo program that is in much better shape — competitively and structurally — than when Leipold arrived in 2015.

Under Leipold, the Bulls went a combined 29-25, including a 10-4 finish in 2018 in which the team set a single-season program record for victories.

Buffalo is coming off three consecutive seasons with winning records, after doing so just twice in its first 16 seasons since joining the MAC in 1999. The Bulls have also made three consecutive bowl appearances, including two straight wins. In 2019, the Bulls earned their first bowl victory by defeating Charlotte, 31-9, in the Bahamas Bowl.

AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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