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JACK LINN JR.

Football ∙ Freedom

Against all odds, Jack Linn Jr. stayed alive to find success on the gridiron, after a mysterious infection nearly took his life. Jack's weight dropped from 270 lbs to 160 lbs over three months, his sense of smell was impaired, and his hair started falling out, before antibiotics saved his life.

Recoved, Jack became the first freshman in school history to play varsity basketball. The Freedom Bulldogs lost to Seton-LaSalle in double overtime in the WPIAL quarterfinals that year, but, as a sophomore, Jack helped lead Freedom to its first 20-win season, all the way to the WPIAL final and the PIAA quarters. Freedom also made the playoffs in his senior season.

In football, Jack was a member of the Associated Press All-State Scholastic Team as a lineman and also averaged 38.5 yards per punt with a long of 74. Despite being unable to play his entire junior year, Jack earned three letters in basketball and one in football. He would eventually receive Freedom High School's Alumni Award.

At West Virginia University, Jack played tackle on a dominant offensive line. The Mountaineers played in the 1987 John Hancock Bowl and the next season finished the regular season undefeated for the first time in school history at 11-0 and won the Lambert Meadowlands Trophy. West Virginia lost 34-21 to Notre Dame in the 1989 Sunkist Fiesta Bowl National Championship Game and finished 5th in the AP and UPI polls. Following the 1989 season, Jack and WVU played in the Gator Bowl. Jack won a host of awards in Morgantown, including Sporting News All-American 1st Team, AP All-East 1st Team, All-ECAC, Ideal Mountaineer Man of the Year, and Mountaineer Club (the highest award a WVU student-athlete can receive). Jack received a B.S. in Physical Education and his athletic coaching certificate in 1990.

Jack was drafted in the 9th round by the Detroit Lions but spent the 1990 season on injured reserve. He spent part of 1991 with the Miami Dolphins, then returned to Detroit in 1992 and part of 1993. He was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts and started three games with the Cincinnati Bengals before injuries forced him into retirement.

Jack served as an assistant coach at Shepherd College and Indiana University of Pennsylvania before starting his own irrigation business in Florida in 2001. He was a Village Police Safety Officer working with youth in Alaska starting in 2008. After returning to Florida, Jack died in a motorcycle accident in 2015. He is survived by his daughter, Ashlee Linn, and son, Jackson Linn.