NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Christopher Newport University Executive Vice President Bill Brauer and Director of Athletics Kyle McMullin announced today that ART LINK has been selected head football coach of the Captains.
Link, who has spent the last three years as the Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., will succeed Matt Kelchner and becomes just the second head football coach in CNU history.
“Art Link is an outstanding football coach and will be a great mentor for our student-athletes,” Brauer said. “As our Head Football Coach, he will build upon the legacy of Captains football student-athletes being leaders on our campus and in the community.”
Christopher Newport football began play in 2001, and Matt Kelchner has led the program since its inception. Kelchner, who will continue at CNU as Associate Athletic Director, guided the Captains to a 109-60 record and ten trips to the NCAA Tournament in 16 seasons of action.
“The CNU football program is in very good hands with Coach Link,” Kelchner said. “He will be a great leader and knows what it takes to continue our history of success. I am certain that our student-athletes, as well as our recruits, will be very impressed with his abilities to coach and lead the program.”
“This is an outstanding opportunity for me and my family,” Link said. “I view Christopher Newport as one of the top Division III programs in the country, both academically and athletically. I’m excited to build on the success that Coach Kelchner has established.”
Prior to joining the Lafayette staff, Link served as linebackers coach at the University of New Hampshire for two seasons in 2012 and 2013, both years advancing to the NCAA tournament. The 2013 New Hampshire squad advanced farther than any other Wildcats team and reached the NCAA semifinals.
Prior to 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.
“Coach Link brings terrific energy, great passion and tremendous football pedigree to Christopher Newport,” McMullin said. “Art’s combination of experience in the SEC, coordinator at a start-up program, coordinator in the Patriot League and success as a coach in the CAA make him uniquely suited to be the Head Coach of the Captains.”
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.
“My sincere thanks to our committee for their efforts in helping steward this search and bringing Art Link and his family to Christopher Newport University,” McMullin continued. “I am thrilled to welcome our newest family of Captains!”
Link and his wife, Megan, have two children, son Ryan (8) and daughter Ava (5).
“We’re looking forward to becoming members of the Newport News community,” Link continued. “Christopher Newport fans can look forward to high energy and up-tempo football that will continue the great tradition the program has already established.”
Christopher Newport’s 17th season of football, with Art Link leading the Captains for the first time, will open in Buena Vista, Va., on Saturday, September 2, 2017. Christopher Newport will take on the Knights of Southern Virginia University in New Jersey Athletic Conference action