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Warrior Football Camps

Defensive Coaching Staff

Brian Curtin
Co-Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Backs

Brian Curtin is entering his 20th season as a member of the Winona State University coaching staff. Curtin tutors WSU defensive backs while also serving as the team’s co-defensive coordinator.

Curtin has been a member of head coach Tom Sawyer’s staff almost from the beginning, helping turn around a program and usher in an era of unprecedented success. Curtin joined the WSU staff in 1997, Sawyer’s second year as the team’s head man.

In those 18 seasons, Curtin has helped the Warriors to eight NSIC Championships, as well as the 2010 NSIC South Division crown. WSU has advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs five times since Curtin’s arrival while also playing in three Mineral Water Bowls.

Curtin’s defenses have been a major part in the Warriors’ success. Building their team around a stingy, ball hawking unit, Curtin helped tutor five consecutive NSIC Defensive Players of the Year. A Warrior claimed the honor from 2002-2006, with Curtin personally coaching safety John Tackmann to the award in 2005 and 2006.

Tackmann was an All-American under Curtin’s watchful eye in 2005 and 2006. He also coached Jamey Hutchinson to First Team All-American honors in 1997.

Curtin has helped the Warriors to five seasons of ten or more victories and 11 campaigns in which the team won at least eight games. His defenses also helped the team compile a 35 game home conference winning streak that began in 1999 and stretched through the end of the 2008 season.

Since joining the WSU staff, Curtin has helped tutor defensive units that led the NSIC in turnover margin (four times), scoring defense (three times), total defense (twice), rush defense and passing efficiency defense.

Both Ryan Williams and Chris Norgaard earned All-Conference honors in 2012, with Norgaard also gaining All-Region accolades as WSU went 10-2 and won the Mineral Water Bowl.

Curtin played football at Winona State and was a member of the 1993 NSIC Championship team. That squad went 7-4 overall and 5-1 in conference play to earn the only NAIA Playoff bid in school history. The Warriors repeated as NSIC Champions in 1994, posting a 7-3-1 overall record and 5-0-1 mark in league play.

Curtin graduated from Winona State University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Social Science and History. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership from Winona State University.

Curtin is also an advisor for the Student-Athlete Services department at Winona State, as well as being an instructor in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science.

Curtin lives in Winona with his wife Sarah and their two children, Caitlin and Patrick.

Zac Barton
Co-Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line

Zac Barton is in his fifth season as an assistant coach for Winona State, serving as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Barton also serves as the Warriors’ recruiting coordinator.

A former Warrior graduate assistant, Barton returned to the Winona State football program in 2012, helping lead the team to ten wins and a spot in the Mineral Water Bowl.

Barton tutored NSIC All-Conference selections Parker Detjens and Tyler Kubler during the 2013 season, along with punt returner Alan May. The Warriors finished second in the nation with six blocked kicks during the season while placing second in the NSIC in punt returns and net punting.

Defensive end Lewis Johnson earned All-Conference honors in 2012 under Barton’s tutelage, as did return specialist Chichi Ojika.

Barton spent the 2011 season at the University of Memphis where he worked with the offensive line and assisted with all aspects of the offensive game plan. Barton was the defensive line coach at Nebraska-Omaha during the 2010 season.

Barton spent three seasons on the Winona State staff (2007-09) where he coached the defensive line and special teams. The Warriors claimed the NSIC title and a spot in the NCAA Division II Playoffs during Barton’s first season with the team, posting a 10-2 overall record. He also helped coach the Warriors to an upset win over No. 9 Carson-Newman in 2009.

Barton was a four-time all-academic selection at Bloomsburg (PA), graduating in 2006 with a degree in History. He was an All-Conference and All-Region selection as a senior and a member of three conference championship teams under head coach Danny Hale. The 2006 Bloomsburg squad earned the regional championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoff semifinals.

Barton earned a Master’s of Science degree in Sports Management from Winona State in 2009. He holds a degree in History from Bloomsburg.

Brett Holika
Special Teams Coordinator / Linebackers

Brett Holinka is entering his second season as Winona State's special teams and linebackers coach.

Holinka returns to Winona State after serving as a coach for Rutgers the past two seasons. Holinka served as a defensive quality control assistant, where he handled many different duties.

Holinka is a familiar face to the Warriors program, as he was a graduate assistant coach for Winona State in 2012 as he handled linebacker coaching duties.

Before his first stint in the Warriors program, Holinka coached inside linebackers at the University of St. Thomas for the 2010 and 2011 seasons as well as served as a linebackers coach for Trinity High School in Dickinson, N.D. in 2009.

Holinka played linebacker for the University of North Dakota from 2004-2008, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and Exercise Science.

Matt Splon
Assistant Coach / Special Teams / Defensive Backs

Bio Coming Soon!


Brent Ritter
Defensive Backs

Bio Coming Soon!