RICHMOND, Va. — Wayne Lineburg never imagined he would fulfill his lifetime dream this way.
But after the "unfortunate situation" — the resignation of Spiders coach Latrell Scott Tuesday following his arrest on charges of driving under the influence and refusing a breathalyzer test — Lineburg was introduced Wednesdsay as the Spiders' interim head coach for the 2011 season.
"I understand what I've been entrusted with," said the 37-year-old Lineburg. "I understand the gravity of the situation and what the job entails, and the bottom line is we're going to do whatever it takes to do what's best for these student athletes.
"The mission has not changed and will not change. We want kids to come here, graduate and represent the university in the right way."
Lineburg said he was honored to be selected.
"Someone's got to step up and do it and I think at this point in time, I'm ready for the challenge," he said.
Calling Scott a "dear friend," Lineburg said the two have spoken briefly and that Scott pledged to support him in any way he can.
Scott's attorney, Joe Owen, said his office is still investigating the circumstances surrounding his client's arrest at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and he would not comment further.
The key to moving forward, Lineburg said, will be consistency. He said that is why he decided to retain the offensive coordinator's responsibilities, including play-calling. He said he also will lean heavily on the rest of the staff in what he said would be a "group effort" this season.
The Spiders, who finished 6-5 in Scott's lone season, pledged to turn it around and return to the FCS playoffs before being stunned by the announcement Tuesday afternoon. Linebacker Darius McMillan said a team meeting afterward helped them process the stunning news.
"It was almost one of those situations where you were waiting for a punchline, like a joke gone bad," he said of the announcement by athletic director Jim Miller, given when the team reported for a scheduled afternoon meeting. "We had the opportunity to come together as a team without the coaches and deliberate a little and get some things out there, and I think the situation really brought us closer together."
Later, on the practice field, they showed the resolve they will need, he said.
"We all realize that we're going to miss coach Scott because he meant a lot to us on and off the field, but in our meeting, we spoke and came to the conclusion that we need to rally around ourselves," McMillan said. "We decided from yesterday on, we'll be moving forward."Comment on this story
A better sense of team unity, established as a goal during a team meeting after the Spiders' season-ending 41-3 loss to William & Mary last season, also will help, offensive lineman Richard Muldrow said. The Spiders worked to foster that closeness throughout spring practice and the summer, he said, hoping to put behind them the' disappointing finish in a season in which four players started at quarterback.
"Yesterday just showed that whatever's thrown at us, we're going to attack it and were not going to run from it," Muldrow said.
Lineburg said he plans to meet with the freshmen brought in by Scott, and has already begun sending e-mails to recruits that have either committed to Richmond or are on the Spiders' wish list, hoping to let them all know that the mission of the program remains the same.
The Spiders open against Duke next Saturday.