Don Yanowsky is in his second season with the Miners as the assistant special teams coordinator and safeties coach. Yanowsky was hired prior to the 2016 season and brings over three decades of coaching experience on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Yanowsky mentored the safeties, including FS Devin Cockrell and SS Dashon Smith in 2016. Cockrell and Smith started all 12 games at their respective positions. Cockrell led all UTEP defensive backs in tackles (58), while ranking fourth overall on the defense. Smith led the Miners with a pair of interceptions and ranked sixth on the team in tackles (53). Smith picked off a pass in the end zone during UTEP’s 5OT win at UTSA and came up with another pick the next week versus Old Dominion.

Sophomore Michael Lewis, who played a solid first year in 2015, will return for Yanowsky and was the no. 1 free safety listed on the 2017 Spring Depth Chart.

The Miners’ pass defense ranked third in C-USA (209.0 avg.) as the safeties excelled in the backfield. UTEP also ranked fifth in total defense (419.3 yards allowed per game). 

Recently Yanowsky, known as “Yano” in football circles, assumed duties as the special teams coordinator for two seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks (2014-15) of the Canadian Football League. Ottawa won the East Division with a 12-6 overall record. The Redblacks defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 35-28, in the Eastern Final to reach the 103rd Grey Cup against the Edmonton Eskimos.

The native of Chicago made his CFL debut with the Calgary Stampeders as the linebackers coach in 2012. Yanowsky held the position for two years. Calgary played in the 100th Grey Cup (2012).

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Yanowsky was the tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator at Memphis for two seasons (2010-11). It was his second stint with the Tigers, as he assumed duties with the offensive line and as recruiting coordinator (1989-95).

Yanowsky coached the tight ends at LSU in 2009, while also serving as the recruiting coordinator. Before coaching in Baton Rouge, Yanowsky coached two seasons (2007-08) at Boston College, serving as the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. Yanowsky’s tight ends combined to catch 73 passes for 719 yards and five scores in 2007. The Eagles went 11-3, as they defeated Michigan State, 24-21, at the 2007 Champs Sports Bowl. Boston College also advanced to the 2008 Music City Bowl against Vanderbilt.

Prior to his arrival at Boston College, Yanowsky spent the 2006 season coaching tight ends and special teams under Skip Holtz at East Carolina. He coached at Duke for three years (2003-05), coaching the offensive line for two years, and the outside linebackers and special teams for one season.

Steve Logan hired Yanowsky at East Carolina for the first time in 2001, coaching the defensive line, and helping the Pirates earn a berth in the GMAC Bowl that year.

Other coaching stops for Yanowsky include a four-year stint (1997-2000) at Arkansas State; a one-year stay at Minnesota (1996) to coach the defensive line; and a three-year stay at Utah (1982-84) as the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

Yanowsky got his start in coaching in 1981 when he was hired as a student assistant coach at his alma mater Toledo. He started two years at the offensive guard position for the Rockets (1979-80). Prior to transferring to Toledo, Yanowsky played at Snow Junior College at the same position (1978-79). From 1985-1987, Yanowsky coached at the high school level, serving as offensive coordinator at Bountiful (Utah) High School and later as the head coach at Viewmont High School in Utah, before returning to the collegiate ranks in 1989 at Memphis.

A 1982 graduate of Toledo, Yanowsky earned a degree in Education. Yanowsky is married to the former Janet Free and the couple has two sons, Donnie and Jacob.

Don Yanowsky

Don  Yanowsky

Assistant Special Teams Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator/ Safeties

Alma Mater:
Toledo 1982


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