HAMDEN, Conn. (BVM) — When Joe Flacco signed his then-record six-year, $120 million contract in March 2013, his agent, Joe Linta, was in his offseason of his other job as the varsity football head coach of Hamden Hall Country Day High School.
To live in the world of football is what the 62-year-old Linta wants to do. He became the head coach of the Hamden Hall Hornets in 2011, a second job to his long-time career as an NFLPA-certified agent.
While being an agent deals with finances and being a football coach deals with leadership, Linta recognizes the similarities between the two.
“The way I approach being an agent ties into the coaching from the standpoint of mentorship and really guiding kids through the process,” Linta said. “In the NFL, you’re guiding the kids through the process of the draft, the contract, and any kind of outside issues, be it marketing or personal problem. That ties into the way you approach high school coaching, where you’re kind of a mentor or role model for these kids in high school, and you’re trying to help them through their own draft process, which is recruiting.”
In addition to negotiating Flacco’s contract, Linta’s agency, JL Sports, negotiated Kyle Juszczyk’s record contract for a fullback of five-years, $27 million in 2021.
Linta especially takes pride in finding the underdog prospects, such as Ross Tucker, a former NFL offensive lineman who Linta described as “the longest of longshots.”
“Calling [Tucker] in September and telling him that he made the active roster for Washington, he started crying on the phone, and I just felt such a sense of joy that I shepherded him and got him this chance and he made it,” Linta recalled. “But there’s a lot of those along the way because we take a lot of guys that aren’t given their due and don’t get a good shot.”
As an agent, he likes to focus on underdogs. As a high school coach, Linta wants the best of the best.
“The pinnacle was the 2016 season. We were 11-0, ranked number one in New England. Tremendous team,” Linta described of his biggest accomplishments as a coach. “The joy comes from seeing these kids succeed. I’m very proud of the accomplishments of a lot of kids going on to play college football.”
Growing up in Freedom, Pennsylvania, Linta moved to Connecticut when he started college at Yale in 1978. There he double-majored in political science and administrative science, as well as played defensive tackle for the football team. He stayed in Connecticut and transitioned to finance after working briefly in politics.
When Linta took the head coaching job at Hamden Hall in 2011, his two sons transferred there to play football on their father’s team. His older son, Nick Linta, played wide receiver and currently coaches wide receivers and defensive backs for the Hornets. Nick also serves as an agent for JL Sports. His younger son, T.J. Linta, played quarterback and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 as an undrafted free agent but was released in the same year with an injury settlement.
“Coaching my kids, you know, having the quarterback throw to the wide receiver for touchdowns, was an accomplishment that jumped out at me,” Joe Linta described. “We beat Hopkins School who was back then our big rival and had beaten Hamden Hall 12 straight years before I got there… My kids were instrumental in the game. That was something I’ll never forget.”
His children have long graduated from Hamden Hall, but he remains with the Hornets because he enjoys his coaching job so much.
“I was only doing the coaching initially when my two sons were playing. My commitment to the headmaster at Hamden Hall was going to be three years,” Joe Linta said. “Then I realized how much I loved it. Six years later I’m still doing it. The motivation is really just that it’s cathartic. Winning the games is pretty cool too.”
As time goes on, Joe Linta wants to continue to simultaneously be a coach and be president of JL Sports for as long as possible. And for someone who’s been in the game of football for as long as him, it is certainly possible he can do both for the foreseeable future.
“I’ll do it until I can’t do it. When people say to me, ‘what are you going to do when you’re retiring?’ It’s like, I’m doing it right now,” Joe Linta said of when he reaches the typical retirement age. “The day after retirement for me will be the same as the day before retirement.”