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Witt football loses longtime assistant

Rob Linkhart didn’t know it would be his last win on the sideline as a Wittenberg assistant coach, but it turned out to be a good way to go out.

Linkhart, a former Tiger who was head coach Joe Fincham’s longest current tenured assistant, had to step down this summer when he accepted an assistant principal job at Kenton Ridge. Asked to name the best moment from his 12 years under Fincham, Linkhart chose the program’s most recent victory, the 52-38 comeback victory over Heidelberg in the first round of the playoffs last November.

“I thought as a coaching staff, we managed the game so well to allow us to be in a position for our players to start to make plays at the end,” Linkhart said. “We made a couple of small adjustments, and then our players started to really excel. That was one I felt like as a coaching staff we helped our players succeed.”

The loss of Linkhart is the latest change for Fincham’s staff. A year ago, longtime assistant Mark Ewald left for the University of Dayton. Earlier this year, defensive coordinator Andy Waddle took the head coaching job at Marietta and quarterbacks coach Matt Vitzthum was named running backs coach at Grand Valley State.

This year, a two-time NCAC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Ben Zoeller, joins the staff as running backs coach, and former tight end Jake Bowman will coach defensive backs. Another recent graduate is slated to coach the wide receivers, but Fincham can’t announce that until the hiring is official.

The loss of Linkhart, a Northwestern High School alum, will be especially noticeable because he had been with the staff since 2001, and the 1999 Wittenberg graduate was a three-year letterwinner at defensive back before that.

“Good people like that are so hard to find,” Fincham said. “Obviously, they’re not getting paid a lot of money, and they put in ridiculous hours on top of their full-time job. We’ve been fortunate to have some great ones over the years.”

Linkhart coached defensive backs, running backs and tight ends in his career at Wittenberg.

“It’s bittersweet,” Linkhart said. “I’m really excited for my new position and the new challenges that come with that. I’m certainly going to miss Saturdays.”

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