NAIA Division II National Champions
The quarterback who had blossomed in the 1984 NAIA Division II championship game came full flower in 1986. David Lindley, whose teammates came to call him Zeus – after the mythic lightning-bolt thrower – broke or tied 12 Linfield passing and total offense records in leading the ‘Cats to a dominating 12-0 record and their third NAIA-II title in five years.
Linfield defeated Baker of Kansas 17-0 in the championship game – the score, on a very cold day in the mud at McMinnville High School, was the Wildcats’ lowest of the season. In 11 previous games they topped 40 points 7 times, including a 53-7 destruction of Carroll College of Montana in the NAIA semifinal. The Wildcats set six school team season offensive records, including most points scored and most yards gained. Their only close call was a 27-21 victory over Pacific Lutheran in overtime in the NAIA quarterfinal.
Guard Doug Hire, kicker Greg Gullilford, Lindley, linebackers Mark Seigner and Jody Tyrell, and tight end Dave Carlson were chosen NAIA All-Americans and a record 16 players won all-conference recognition. For the third time, Ad Rutschman was named NAIA coach of the year.