Linehan held assistant coaching jobs at the college level for 13 years, with stints at Louisville, Washington, Idaho and UNLV.
Schwartz took the Lions' top coaching job after Rod Marinelli was fired for leading Detroit to the NFL's first 0-16 season.
It was Schwartz's second major staff hire. On Wednesday, he brought in veteran assistant Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
In 2006, the Lions also turned to a fired Rams coach to head their offensive effort. They hired Mike Martz a month after he was fired by St. Louis. He coached the Rams from 2000 to 2005, including a Super Bowl loss in 2001.
The Lions fired Martz one year ago, replacing him with Jim Colletto.