Art Link | Christopher Newport University

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Team: Christopher Newport University
Organization: NCAA Football
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Gainesville, FL

Biography

ART LINK begins his third season leading the Christopher Newport University football program in 2019. He is just the second head coach of the Captains in history of the program, which dates back to 2001. Link was hired on January 30, 2017, succeeding Matt Kelchner, who led the squad from 2001-2016.

Link has led the Captains to a 12-7 overall record over his first two seasons, and CNU is 10-7 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference in that span.

CNU is coming off a 7-2 overall record in the 2018 campaign that saw the Captains finish 6-2 in the NJAC. Link's squad won its final four games to finish strong, and both of CNU's defeats came in overtime thrillers. The campaign included three impressive road victories over New Jersey schools; Rowan (39-6), William Paterson (39-10), and the College of New Jersey (38-13). The Captains also registered triumphs over Southern Virginia (38-9), Hampden-Sydney (17-13), and Kean (13-3).

Link began his head coaching career by leading the Captains to a 45-17 triumph at Southern Virginia University on September 2, 2017.  CNU would go on to start the season with a 4-1 mark, matching the best start in program history through five games. The Captains notched impressive victories over Hampton-Sydney, Montclair State, and Rowan along the way. After improving to 5-2 with a home victory over William Paterson, the Captains would end up losing their final three games to conclude the season with a 5-5 mark.

Link’s inaugural campaign featured two outstanding individual performances. Freshman wide receiver Cole Blais was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in the New Jersey Athletic Conference after catching 54 passes including two for scores. Senior cornerback Justus Drakeford became just the ninth CNU football standout to achieve All-American status after picking off six passes and posting 40 tackles.  

Prior to taking over the CNU program, Link spent three years as the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., from 2013-2016. Prior to that, he served as linebackers coach at the University of New Hampshire for two seasons (2012-2013), both years advancing to the NCAA tournament. His 2013 New Hampshire squad advanced farther than any other Wildcats team and reached the NCAA semifinals.

Before his time in the CAA, Link led the program's defensive unit and linebackers at Campbell University when they started the football program in 2008. Link's opportunistic defense led the Camels to their first winning season in 2011 when Campbell ranked thirteenth nationally in turnovers forced. He was also the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Division III Catholic University in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference for the 2006 season.

Link, a native of Gainesville, Fl., received both his bachelors of science as well as masters in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Florida where he was a member of the Gators 1996 National Championship and SEC Championship team. He played for Head Coach Steve Spurrier at Florida, as well as Defensive Coordinator Bob Stoops. He received the Fifth-Year Senior Award in 1998, and was part of teams that played in the Orange Bowl (1999), Citrus Bowl (1998), and Sugar Bowl (1997).

His coaching career also includes a stint with the Gators as a graduate assistant, working primarily with the linebacking corps from 2004-2006 under head coaches Ron Zook and Urban Meyer. Link and his wife, Megan, have two children, son Ryan (10) and daughter Ava (8).

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