Sources: Buffalo finalizing deal to make Michigan's Maurice Linguist its next head coach

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Buffalo is on the cusp of hiring Michigan co-defensive coordinator Maurice Linguist to become the school’s next head coach, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports. The deal is being finalized and the school could introduce Linguist to the team as soon as Friday night. 

Linguist, 37, spent this spring at Michigan after working the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys. Throughout a circuitous career that’s seen Linguist work everywhere from the FCS to the NFL and two separate tours in the SEC, his first head coaching opportunity will come in a familiar place. Linguist served as a Buffalo assistant coach in 2012 and 2013.

In Linguist, the Bulls are getting an experienced coach who most recently made headlines for energizing Michigan’s languid recruiting. He spent the 2020 season in the NFL coaching the Cowboys' cornerbacks after a career spent primarily as a defensive backs coach. That’s included stops at James Madison (safeties), Iowa State (DBs/pass game coordinator), Mississippi State (safeties), Minnesota (defensive backs) and Texas A&M (cornerbacks).

Linguist is regarded as an elite recruiter, as he helped recruit and develop many of the players who starred on the SEC’s leading defense for Texas A&M this season. At Minnesota, he was one of the main recruiters for Rashod Bateman, who the Gophers swiped out of Georgia, and he developed into a first-round pick.

Maurice Linguist was hired away from the Dallas Cowboys by Michigan in January. (AP)
Maurice Linguist was hired away from the Dallas Cowboys by Michigan in January. (AP)

Along the way, Linguist worked for a flurry of notable coaches, including Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck and Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Linguist’s move from the Cowboys to Michigan marked his first chance to be a co-defensive coordinator. He made his mark early on at Michigan, playing a key role in the recruitment of two high-end prospects, Kody Jones and Will Johnson, soon after arriving on campus.

Linguist inherits a strong program at Buffalo, which has played in two of the past three MAC title games. The Bulls lost coach Lance Leipold to Kansas, which has prompted four projected starters to enter the NCAA transfer portal.

This is the first football hire for athletic director Mark Alnutt, who has helped shepherd Buffalo into one of the more attractive jobs in the MAC. That includes the recent completion of the school’s indoor practice facility, which is one of the jewels of the conference.

Linguist beat out Joe Harasymiak, the former head coach at Maine and current Minnesota assistant, for the job. Harasymiak was the other finalist who interviewed on campus this week.

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