Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
Don Wnek, a specialist in pass rush and defensive line techniques with more than 25 seasons of collegiate and professional coaching experience on his resume, is in his third year as Baylor's defensive line coach.
In 2006, redshirt freshman defensive end Jason Lamb earned All-Big 12 freshman team honors from The Sporting News.
Wnek joined the Baylor staff on the eve of the 2005 campaign and watched his starting defensive ends, Marcus Foreman and Montez Murphy, each earn honorable mention All-Big 12 honors. Murphy went on to play in the Hula Bowl and sign a free agent contract with the NFL's Green Bay Packers and spent the 2006 season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Before joining the Baylor staff, Wnek spent the 2004 football season as the director of football of operations at Indiana and worked as a federal law officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
He was the defensive line coach for the Canadian Football League's (CFL) Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2002, his second tour of duty with the organization. Wnek served as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach with the XFL's Birmingham Thunderbolts in 2001.
His collegiate coaching experience includes stops at Northern Illinois and Nevada. Wnek coached at NIU, his alma mater, from 1978-81, and at Nevada from 1982-89. During his tenure at NIU, he coached the outside linebackers and defensive line while with the Wolfpack he coached the defensive line and served as defensive coordinator from 1986-87. Nevada won the Big Sky title in 1986 with Wnek leading the defense and was a member of two other Big Sky championship teams during his Reno tenure.
Wnek was out of football in 1990, but returned to the coaching ranks in 1991, when he coached the San Antonio Riders of the World League (now NFL Europe) during the fall and the CFL's Tiger-Cats during the spring. In San Antonio, he worked alongside former Baylor defensive coordinator Bill Bradley. Wnek served on both teams coaching staffs in 1991 and 1992 before working strictly with Hamilton in 1993 and 1994. In 1995, he coached the defensive line and linebackers for the CFL's Memphis Mad Dogs, and watched as one of his pupils led the CFL in sacks.
He worked on the Montreal Alouettes' staff in 1996 and 1997, coaching the defensive line in 1996, when one of his players again paced the CFL in sacks, and the offensive line in 1997 before a one-year stint as defensive coordinator for the British Columbia Lions in 1998. The B.C. defense ranked first in the CFL in turnovers, interceptions and fewest rushing touchdowns allowed and featured five All-Western Division All-Stars under his guidance.
Wnek returned to the Alouettes in 1999 to coach the defensive line and stayed through 2001 before returning to the Tiger-Cats in 2002. Montreal won the Eastern Division title in 2000 and played in the Grey Cup. His 2000 line spearheaded a defense that led the CFL in nine categories including most sacks and fewest points allowed. From 1995 through 2000, the defenses in which he worked with topped the CFL in sacks every season.
A three-year letterwinner at defensive end at Northern Illinois (1970-72), Wnek led the Huskies with 11 tackles for loss totaling 70 yards during his senior season. He received his bachelor's degree in education from NIU in 1974.
Wnek's son, Eli, was a fullback and linebacker at Arizona from 1997-2001 and enjoyed a brief playing career with the Arena Football League's Arizona Rattlers.
He is married to the former Penny Smith of Mississauga, Ontario.
The Wnek File
Birthdate: May 4, 1951, in Chicago, Ill.
High School: Lane Technical High School, Chicago, Ill.
Alma Mater: Northern Illinois, 1974
Collegiate Playing Experience: Northern Illinois, defensive end, 1970-72
1978-81: Northern Illinois, outside linebackers and defensive line
1982-85: Nevada, defensive line
1986-87: Nevada, defensive coordinator and defensive line
1988-89: Nevada, defensive line
1991-92: San Antonio Riders (spring) & Hamilton Tiger-Cats (fall), defensive line
1993-94: Hamilton Tiger-Cats, defensive line
1995: Memphis Mad Dogs, defensive line and linebackers
1996: Montreal Alouettes, defensive line
1997: Montreal Alouettes, offensive line
1998: British Columbia Lions, defensive coordinator
1999-00: Montreal Alouettes, defensive line
2001: Birmingham Thunderbolts, co-defensive coordinator, defensive line
2002: Hamilton Tiger-Cats, defensive line
2004: Indiana, director of football operations
2005-07: Baylor, defensive line
1983: NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs (coach)
1985: NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs (coach)
1986: NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs (coach)
1992: CFL Playoffs (coach)
1993: CFL Playoffs (coach)
1996: CFL Playoffs (coach)
1997: CFL Playoffs (coach)
1998: CFL Playoffs (coach)
1999: CFL Playoffs (coach)
2000: CFL Playoffs; Grey Cup (coach)
Did You Know?
Don Wnek left coaching after the 2002 season and served as an officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003 before returning to college football as Indiana's director of football operations in 2004.