By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOUSTON, Texas — Rice head basketball coach Scott Pera announced the addition of Mark Linebaugh to his staff Thursday afternoon. Linebaugh comes to Rice following three seasons as an assistant coach at Hobart College.
“I am pleased to announce that Mark Linebaugh will be joining our staff,” said Rice head coach Scott Pera. “Mark brings so many qualities that are necessary to be a successful coach. He has passion for the game, tremendous leadership qualities, is a relentless recruiter and understands the importance of cultivating and maintaining relationships. He will embrace Rice University and the city of Houston with tremendous pride and be a great mentor for our student-athletes.
In his first season at Hobart, Linebaugh helped the Statesmen to an 18-8 record, the sixth most wins in a season for Hobart. Despite graduating the 2013-14 National Player of the Year (Richie Bonney) and the two-time Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year (Joe Gibbons), the Statesmen went 13-3 in Liberty League play and finished second in the regular season standings.
The following season, Hobart welcomed the top recruiting class in the Liberty League to campus. The Statesmen finished tied for fourth in the league standings and were the only team to place two players on the Liberty League All-Rookie Team (Colin Dougherty, Jamal Lucas).
In 2016-17, Hobart posted a four-game improvement in the win column over the 2015-16 season, despite facing the 24th toughest schedule in the nation. Linebaugh helped the Statesmen go 16-11 while upsetting two-time defending Liberty League champion Skidmore in the conference tournament semifinals.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be welcomed into the Rice University community,” said Linebaugh. “I look forward to helping Rice Basketball continue building on the momentum created over the past several seasons. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with such fine student-athletes to help them grow as players, students, and community leaders. I feel incredibly blessed to be working with Coach Pera and the entire Rice staff. Coach Pera has been a mentor and inspiration to so many over the years. His contagious enthusiasm, loyalty, compassion, drive and selflessness is second to none. I was blessed to have played for Coach and feel just as blessed to now be working with him and the entire Rice athletics staff, to help our past, current, and future student-athletes work to reach their dreams as well.”
Prior to Hobart, Linebaugh spent three years as the Director of Basketball Operations at Colgate. During his three seasons in Hamilton, N.Y., Linebaugh helped the Raiders nearly double their win total from the season before he arrived, going from a 7-23 season in 2010-11 to 13-18 in 2013-14. He had a wide range of responsibilities, including analyzing game video, scouting opponents, planning practices, coordinating team travel itineraries, and organizing community events. Before joining the program, Linebaugh was already very familiar with one Statesman, Trey Blanding. Linebaugh was Blanding’s head coach at Annville-Cleona (Pa.) High School. In 2010-11, they led the Dutchmen to a 21-7 record and the program’s first appearance in the state playoffs in a decade. Linebaugh was named the 2010-11 Lancaster-Lebanon League Section IV Coach of the Year. A native of Cleona, Linebaugh was 45-30 in three seasons at the helm of his alma mater. As a player for the Dutchmen, he was named the Pennsylvania Small School Player of the Year after leading Annville-Cleona to the AA State Championship in 1998-99. Linebaugh’s collegiate coaching career began with a single season as an assistant coach at Dickinson College. A 2004 graduate of Colgate, Linebaugh holds a bachelor’s degree in educational studies. A three-year starter for the Raiders’ basketball team, he ranks among the top 10 at the school in several statistical categories, including free throw percentage (3rd - .816), three-pointers made (6th - 173), assists (7th - 258), steals (7th - 142), and points (10th - 1,389). As a freshman, Linebaugh averaged 10.1 points per game, ranked 15th in the nation in free throw shooting (.882) and was voted the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. He then went on to garner All-Patriot League second team honors as a junior and senior. Linebaugh served as a team captain as a senior and shared that year’s team Most Valuable Player award. After graduating from Colgate, Linebaugh spent four years as a player and a coach with Falcon Basketklubben, a professional basketball team in the Danish First Division.