Erik Link | University of Missouri

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Team: University of Missouri
Organization: NCAA Football
Position: Special Teams Coordinator
Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Biography

Mizzou Head Coach Eliah Drinkwitz has added Erik Link to his brand new coaching staff.  Link, who spent the 2019 season on Drinkwitz's staff as special teams coordinator at Appalachian State, comes to Mizzou in the same role, and he brings a championship pedigree along with him.  

Link has been on coaching staffs that have won one FBS national title, claimed five conference championships, and qualified for eight postseason appearances in his last eight collegiate seasons spanning from 2010-19.  His App State special teams units proved to be among the nation's best in 2019, playing a crucial role in the 20th-ranked Mountaineers' 12-1 season that culminated with a Sun Belt Championship Game victory.

Under Link's guidance, Appalachian State ranked in the nation's top 30 in numerous special teams categories, including a national-best seven blocked kicks (five kicks/two punts), without allowing a single blocked kick or punt.  The 2019 Mountaineers also ranked highly in the following special teams categories: punt return coverage (15th NCAA/1st Sun Belt – 3.65 avg.), kickoff returns (16th NCAA/1st Sun Belt – 24.4 avg.) and kickoff return coverage (28th NCAA/3rd Sun Belt – 18.91 avg.).

Additionally, Link's punting and punt return units weren't far off those lofty standards, as App State finished the 2019 season ranked 34th nationally (3rd in the Sun Belt) in net punting (39.69 avg.) and 41st nationally (4th in the Sun Belt) in punt returns (9.82 avg.).

"Erik is a man of high character with a background in teaching and coaching," said Drinkwitz.  "His special teams units are detailed and very sound, and his guys play hard.  They focus on effort, execution and high energy," he said.

Mizzou will represent the third school at which Link and Drinkwitz have coached together.  Their first pairing came as quality control assistants on an Auburn staff that helped the Tigers win a 2010 national title with a 14-0 record.  Link later contributed to another BCS championship game appearance as a special teams/offensive analyst with Auburn in 2013.  In those two SEC title seasons, plus a stint as Montana State's special teams coordinator and tight ends coach from 2011-12, Link was part of four consecutive conference championships.

"I couldn't be more excited to join the Mizzou family," said Link.  "I am humbled at the opportunity to work with the outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff at the University of Missouri.  My family and I are grateful to Coach Drinkwitz and look forward to working every day to attack success and to embracing the Columbia community," he said.

Prior to App State, Link spent the 2018 season as the special teams coordinator for Louisiana Tech, which won the SoFi Hawaii Bowl to cap an eight-win season in which the Bulldogs blocked four kicks to rank 10th nationally.

Including two seasons back in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, as the head coach and assistant athletics director at Roosevelt High School, which went winless the season before his 2016 arrival but won the 2017 city championship, Link has averaged 8.9 victories a year since 2010.  Montana State reached the FCS quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012, while Auburn followed its BCS title game appearance in 2013 with an Outback Bowl appearance in 2014 and a Birmingham Bowl win in 2015.

Link has more than 16 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and high school levels, including stints at Iowa State and Drake, his alma mater.

From 2006-08, Link was a member of Iowa State's staff in a variety of roles, including offensive line graduate assistant (2006), assistant director of football operations (2007-08) and director of high school relations (2007-08).  Following his time with the Cyclones, Link was a teacher and coach at Texas' Keller High School in 2009.

Link began his collegiate coaching career in 2004 as a defensive graduate assistant at Drake, where he played from 1999-02 as an offensive lineman.  In 2005, Link moved into the role of defensive line coach for Drake a year before joining the Iowa State staff.  Link made his coaching debut at North High School in Des Moines in 2003, when he served as an assistant coach on the offensive line.

During his playing days, Link was named to the Athletic Director's Honor Roll at Drake four-straight years.  He lettered for the Bulldogs from 2000-02 and helped lead them to the 2000 Pioneer Football League Championship.  Link is a 2003 graduate of Drake with a bachelor's degree in secondary education. He earned his master's degree in public administration in executive leadership from Drake in 2008.

Link and his wife, Jill, have one daughter, Evelyn.

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