Brandon Linton, who has a wide range of coaching experience in Division I and III and in the NESCAC, has been hired as the next head coach of the Tufts University men's basketball team.
Linton has led the Nichols College program since 2019. When he took over the Bison, they were coming off a conference championship season in which they advanced to the NCAA Elite 8. Coach Linton succeeded at the difficult challenge of keeping a team on top, guiding the 2019-20 Nichols team to 21 wins, another Commonwealth Coast Conference championship and an NCAA berth.
Prior to that, Coach Linton spent five seasons as an assistant on the men's basketball team at Army West Point from 2014-19. He has familiarity with NESCAC through two seasons (2012-14) at Bowdoin College.
"We are very excited to welcome Brandon to Tufts as the head coach of our men's basketball program," said Director of Athletics John Morris. "Brandon has demonstrated a passion for mentoring student-athletes, helping them develop and grow in all aspects of their lives, and using the basketball court as a classroom to prepare them for life after college. Under Brandon's leadership, I have no doubt our men's basketball program will build upon its tradition of academic and athletic excellence, develop strong relationships with our alumni, campus colleagues and local community, and provide our Jumbo student-athletes with a transformational educational experience that is the hallmark of Tufts Athletics."
Similar to when he took over at Nichols, Coach Linton will guide a Tufts team that enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in 2019-20. The Jumbos won 23 games and the NESCAC title, and were headed to the NCAA "Sweet 16" when the tournament was canceled due to COVID. Bob Sheldon, who led the Jumbos for 33 seasons, retired in December.
"Tufts is a dream school in every way, not just a dream job," Linton said. "It has an elite combination of academics, athletics and location. Quite frankly, I don't think there's too many programs that can boast the same advantages in all those areas. Also seeing the current group of guys that are in the program, I think any coach would be lucky to follow Coach Sheldon and coach this group of guys."
At Army, Coach Linton was on the staff in 2015-16 when the team's 19-14 overall record represented the most wins for the program in the last 38 seasons. Among the many talented recruits that he helped bring to West Point was all-time assists leader Tommy Funk. In 2015 Linton was named one of the National Association of Basketball Coaches' Under Armour "30 Under 30" selections as a one of the top young coaches in the nation.
His first full-time coaching position at Bowdoin included 2013-14 when the Polar Bears' 19-5 finish was the winningest season in school history and they earned the program's first NCAA berth since 2008.
Originally from Queens (East Elmhurst), Linton is a 2010 Clarkson University graduate who is third all-time in assists (400), fourth in career blocks (80) and seventh in total steals (149) for the Golden Knights. He remained at Clarkson as an assistant coach from 2010-12.
Coach Linton has developed his coaching style from playing for Adam Stockwell at Clarkson, and in coaching roles under Zach Spiker and Jimmy Allen at Army West Point along with Tim Gilbride at Bowdoin.
"First and foremost I want to be honest and direct at all times," Linton said. "The only way to do that is by starting with great relationships. That's what I pride myself on. I think great relationships lead to great accountability. When you have those two things then you can get to the key element which is having great competitiveness. Great competitiveness doesn't come unless you know your group is connected and holding each other accountable."
On the recruiting trail, Coach Linton and his staff will be looking for Jumbos who have character, a love for the game and a drive to compete.
"What I've learned through all the stops I've made is that talent only gets you so far," he said. "What truly wins and what wins consistently is character. We're going to make sure we're finding student-athletes who have a high level of character, students that have a make-up to them that's going to help them succeed. We want guys who are going to compete to be excellent on and off the court."
What They Are Saying About Brandon Linton ...
Zach Spiker, Head Coach at Drexel University and Former Head Coach at Army West Point:
"In 2014 we had the chance to bring Brandon on to our staff at Army. He helped recruit and coach a group of players who ended up having one of the most successful four-year stretches in the history of Army basketball. He made a great impact to help our basketball program make history. His ability to connect with, teach and coach and communicate with young men stood out. Our guys enjoyed playing for him. It's clear that Tufts is hiring an experienced coach given that Brandon took over a successful program at Nichols and continued to have success in Year One. That's one of the more under-appreciated coaching jobs that can be done. I can't wait to see what he's going to do with Tufts Basketball."
Jimmy Allen, Head Coach at Army West Point:
"I had the opportunity to work with Brandon as an assistant coach and then was fortunate to be able to keep him on our Army West Point men's basketball team when I became the head coach. First and most important, Brandon is a person of great character and integrity. He does a tremendous job of building trusting relationships with student-athletes, recruits and their families. His proven ability to identify quality student-athletes in recruiting and then develop them into successful student-athletes on and off the court will serve Tufts University well. He is always hungry to learn and grow personally and will be a great mentor and role model for his players. I am excited to see the success of Tufts Men's Basketball in the coming years."
Tim Gilbride, Former Head Coach at Bowdoin College:
"Brandon is a talented coach who played a key role in the success of our program during his time at Bowdoin. His excellent basketball knowledge, teaching ability, personality and outstanding work ethic were instrumental in helping guide our team to an overall record of 33-16, including an NCAA Tournament appearance, as our top assistant. I have watched him carry the same energy, talent and enthusiasm as an assistant coach at West Point and, most recently, as the head coach at Nichols. I am excited to see him bring all of these same qualities and virtues with him as he starts his new role as the Head Men's Basketball Coach at Tufts."