Nowinsky Named Redbird Football Defensive Coordinator
Nov. 27, 2013
Spack took over as defensive coordinator prior to the 2011 season, but turned over play-calling duties to Nowinsky midway through the 2013 campaign. Nowinsky, who will begin his sixth season on the Redbird coaching staff in 2014 and fourth as the assistant head coach, will add the defensive coordinator responsibilities while continuing to work with the team's defensive line unit.
After focusing heavily on the defensive side of the football for the past three seasons, Spack feels now is the time to step back and let Nowinsky make the calls on defense full time.
"I felt that there are several areas of this team that needed my attention and I've spent an inordinate amount of time focusing on the defense over the past three seasons," Spack stated. "I believe it was time well spent, because we have established a system here and I think there are several coaches that could have been our coordinator. I just felt that Spence understands our players well and gets what we are trying to do here on defense, while bringing some toughness to the job. He did a great job when he called the plays at the end of the year when I thought we improved on that side of the ball, so I feel comfortable that Spence will continue to lead that unit well moving forward."
Over the past five seasons, Nowinsky has made the Redbird defensive line into one of the most consistent units on the field. He helped mold defensive end Colton Underwood into a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award and a First-Team All-American over the past two seasons and mentored Nate Palmer, who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. Defensive tackle Eric Brunner was also a two-time Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection under Nowinsky's watch.
"I'm extremely excited to be named the defensive coordinator here at Illinois State," Nowinsky said. "I am honored that Coach Spack has the trust in me to direct our Redbird defense. My vision is one of a defense that plays physical, one that's relentless with effort, and is disciplined in their responsibilities. I want to lead a defense that understands wearing a Redbird helmet is truly a privilege."
After a 2010 season that the Redbird defense ranked 112th in the country, Nowinsky and the rest of the defensive staff turned the ISU defense into one of the of best in the country in 2011. The Redbirds improved to No. 9 in the country in total defense, thanks in part to one of the stingiest run defenses nationally. Nowinsky's line helped the Redbirds hold its opponents to just 85.7 yards per game on the ground, which ranked No. 5 in the country. ISU also ranked eighth in the country in sacks and 13th in tackles for loss, most of which came from Redbird linemen.
Nowinsky came to Illinois State following two years as the associate head coach and defensive line coach at NCAA Division II member Emporia State. He had prior experience coaching at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, including previous assistant coaching positions at Western Athletic Conference (WAC) member Idaho (2003) and at Wisconsin (1999-2002).
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