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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Former Idaho linebacker Linehan dies at 55

The Spokesman-Review

Former University of Idaho standout linebacker Ron Linehan, a longtime high school coach in the Portland area, died last Friday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 55.

Linehan is one of only six Vandals to earn three first-team all-conference selections. The linebacker was honored by the Big Sky in 1969, 1970 and 1971. The five other three-time honorees are John Friesz, Jeff Robinson, Sherriden May, Ryan Phillips and Rick DeMulling.

Linehan, a 1968 graduate of Sunnyside (Wash.) High, was named Idaho’s defensive player of the year in 1970 and the team’s most valuable player in 1971. The ‘71 Vandals, coached by Don Robbins, finished 8-3 overall and tied for first in the Big Sky with a 4-1 mark.

Linehan’s younger brothers, Rick and Scott, also had distinguished careers at Idaho. Rick led the Vandals in tackles and interceptions in 1977 and 1978. Scott, currently the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, passed for 2,407 yards in 1984 and 2,954 yards in 1986.

Ron Linehan was one of three Vandals selected in the 1972 NFL draft. He was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 17th round.

After his playing career, Linehan coached for more than 20 years at Westview High and Sunset High. Three of his Sunset teams advanced to the State 4A semifinals. A pre-planned tribute for Linehan prior to the Sunset-Westview game Friday in Beaverton went on as scheduled despite Linehan’s death earlier that afternoon.

About 75 of Linehan’s former players were in attendance. Sunset and Westview players formed a corridor on the sidelines for Linehan’s family and his former players. Linehan’s wife, Liz, and sons, Josh, a starting offensive lineman at Oregon State, Cole, a defensive lineman at Oregon, and Gabe, a high school freshman, took part in the tribute.


The Spokane Chiefs have named left winger Jeff Lynch team captain. Lynch, 20, was an alternate captain the past two seasons.

He has played 279 games for the Chiefs, which ranks seventh all-time. He has missed just four games over three seasons in Spokane.

Three other 20-year-olds – Chad Klassen, defensemen Joe Logan and Jason Lynch – were selected as alternate captains.

“Chiefs defenseman Gustav Engman, 20, is in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to try to earn a contract with the Manitoba Moose, the Vancouver Canucks’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Engman has played in 126 games with the Chiefs during the last two seasons.


Mark Gardner of The Creek at Qualchan fired a 1-under-par 70 in the final round to win the Pacific Northwest Section PGA Charter Championship at Downriver Golf Course.

Gardner’s two-round total of 139 edged first-round leader Luke Baker of Deer Park Golf Course by one shot. Third-place Gary Lindeblad of Indian Canyon Golf Course finished at 143.


Whitworth senior middle blocker Natalie Danielson was named Northwest Conference player of the week after leading the team to two sweeps.

Danielson (Community Colleges of Spokane) had 32 kills and hit .490 during the week.

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