BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State head coach Eliah Drinkwitz added Louisiana Tech assistant Erik Link, who has won one FBS national title, claimed four conference championships and made seven postseason appearances in his last seven college seasons, to the Mountaineers’ staff as the special teams coordinator Wednesday.
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. Like App State, Louisiana Tech got off to a strong start on special teams, as it had three blocks in its first four games.
“Erik is a championship coach who understands that our culture is reflected in our special teams play,” Drinkwitz said. “He’s dedicated to developing young men through football and education. He and his wife, Jill, will be a great addition to our App family.”
Link and Drinkwitz were both quality control assistants as young members of an Auburn staff that helped the Tigers win a national title with a 14-0 record in 2010, and Link 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.
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 8.5 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.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the App State family,” Link said. “I am humbled by the opportunity to work with the outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff at App. My family and I are grateful to Coach Drinkwitz and look forward to embracing the championship culture at App and within the Boone community.”
Link has more than 15 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 before joining the Iowa State staff the following season. 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 A.D. 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 have one daughter: Evelyn.