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.
Co-Defensive Coordinator / Recruiting Coordinator / Defensive Line
After an outstanding career on the playing field for the Warriors, Matt Ulrich returns to his alma mater to join the coaching staff in 2018. Ulrich will serve as the co-defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
Ulrich, a four-year starter at Winona State, finished his career by earning All-American honors at the defensive tackle position in 2011. He was the 2010 NSIC South Division Preseason Player of the Year, and earned All-NSIC honors in each of his final three seasons with the Warriors. Ulrich recorded seven career sacks while making 112 total tackles.
Ulrich spent one year on staff at Winona after graduation before becoming a graduate assistant coach at Notre Dame College from 2013-14. He spent the 2015 season at UC Davis before returning to Notre Dame as the special teams coordinator in 2016, and the co-defensive coordinator in 2017. Ulrich also coach the defensive line in his final two seasons at Notre Dame College.
The Rushford, Minnesota native graduated from Winona State with a degree in Marketing in 2011.