Dr. William G. Linebarger
2006 Award of Honor
– Class of 1972
Dr William "Bill" Linebarger came to East Tennessee State University in 1968 with one goal in mind, playing football. A football scholarship gave him every opportunity to do so. For four years Linebarger played hard hitting, smash mouth football for ETSU. Little did he know that, 16 years later, he would be repairing people's mouths as a dentist and endodontist.
Linebarger was the middle of three children born to James "Pete" and Dorothy McAmis Linebarger in 1950 in Greeneville , Tenn. He graduated from Greeneville High School where he was a star in football and track. Upon joining the ETSU football program he helped lead the team to the 1969 Mid East Regional and Grantland Rice Bowl Champion.
He was named a Distinguished Military Student/Distinguished Military Graduate in the ROTC Department and was the Brigade Commander. Upon graduating in 1972, Linebarger was named to Who's Who in America Colleges and Universities. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in 1972, majoring in Biology with a minor in ROTC.
After graduation, Linebarger married Kathy Miller and moved to Memphis to attend the College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences. He served as the Vice President of the Student Government Association before graduating in December of 1975 with a D.D.S. degree.
Linebarger's new D.D.S. degree, combined with his past ROTC experience at ETSU, helped him achieve Captain in the United States Army Dental Corp, stationed at Fort Polk , Louisiana . After six months on active duty, his military career ended as the result of a spinal cord injury. Linebarger stayed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington , D.C. , for six months where he received medical care and treatment. Then, he was medically retired from the Army. Linebarger's resilient attitude did not let him quit practicing dentistry. He returned to Memphis for physical and occupational therapy at the Veterans Administration Medical Center Spinal Cord Injury Center. While rehabbing, Linebarger also joined the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry as a part-time faculty member.
After 18 months, Linebarger was released from the hospital and became a full-time faculty member at the College of Dentistry . He was promoted from instructor to assistant professor, and during his last two years on the faculty, he was able to serve as primary instructor for the Removable Partial Dentures course and for the Advanced Complete Dentures Course. In addition, Linebarger served as the President of the Dental Faculty Association in 1980-81.
In 1981, Linebarger left Memphis and the University of Tennessee to begin the residency program in Endodontics at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. He graduated in 1984 with a Master of Science degree and a Certificate of Specialty Training in Endodontics.
After achieving his master's, Linebarger came back to Johnson City . In June of 1984, he opened a private practice limited to Endodontics where he still flourishes. Linebarger has served on various boards including two terms on the Contact Ministries board where he was chairman, the ETSU Foundation and the ETSU Alumni Association board of directors for which he was president in 1996-1998.
Linebarger's son Stephen, who is a Roan Scholar at ETSU, hopes to join the family tradition. Besides Linebarger, his older brother Doug is a 1969 graduate and his younger sister Frances graduated in 1976.