Click here to Skip to main content
Wayne State (Michigan) Football
Wayne State (Michigan) Football mobile



Paul Winters enters his 13th season as the Wayne State University head football coach in the fall of 2016.

Winters was named to the AFCA Board of Trustees in January of 2017.

Winters led the Warriors to their seventh winning campaign in the last eight years in 2015 along with a school record 34 student-athletes receiving Academic All-GLIAC recognition.  His squad was extremely disciplined ranking fifth in the nation in fewest penalty yards per game (36.18).

In 2015, the WSU offense ranked 18th nationally in yards per completion (14.83), 21st in red zone offense (86.8%), 33rd in time of possession (31:44) and 43rd in rushing offense (194.0 yards per game).

Sophomore running back Romello Brown was sixth in the nation in rushing touchdowns (19) and 16th in total rushing yards (1,287), while true freshman quarterback D.J. Zezula was 13th in yards per completion (15.01) and Anthony DeDamos led all GLIAC linebackers in tackles for loss (1.5 per game).

Brown was a Second Team All-GLIAC selection as well as WSU's Offensive Most Valuable Player.  He also received the Serxho Guraleci/Ultimate Warrior for his outstanding work in the weight room.  Rabeah Beydoun was a GLIAC All-Academic Excellence Team honoree along with being recognized by the National Football Foundation with Hampshire Honor Society accolades.  Three other running backs (Jason McCauslin, Deiontae Nicholas and Demetrius Stinson) were named to the Academic All-GLIAC Team for 2015.

The previous year, Winters had 26 student-athletes named to the 2014 Academic All-GLIAC teams with 15 players earning All-GLIAC accolades.  His squad was extremely disciplined ranking seventh in the nation in fewest penalties per game (4.45).  In addition, senior linebacker Nores Fradi was voted GLIAC Defensive Back of the Year and a AFCA First Team All-American.

For the 2013 campaign, he had 24 student-athletes named to the Academic All-GLIAC teams with six players earning All-GLIAC accolades.  His squad was extremely disciplined ranking fourth in the nation in fewest penalties per game (3.27) and fifth in penalty yards per game (30.55).

In the 2012 season finale, he equaled the school mark for games coached (101) by a WSU football coach.  He had 26 student-athletes receive Academic All-GLIAC honors along with 11 players being named to the All-GLIAC teams.

After guiding the winningest team in school history in 2011, he was honored for his efforts with the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year award.

His 2011 squad set the school record for overall wins (12) and road wins (8), while winning four consecutive road playoff games to reach the national title contest.  In addition, senior left tackle Joe Long was the recipient of the Gene Upshaw Award as the top lineman (both offensive and defensive) in Division II.  Senior running back Josh Renel was a First Team CoSIDA Academic All-America selection becoming the first football CoSIDA Academic All-American since 1975.

Senior safety Jeremy Jones along with six other teammates earned All-America accolades for the 2011 season.

The Warriors ranked in the top 40 nationally in eight different categories for the 2011 campaign -- ninth in fewest sacks allowed (0.94 per game), 14th in sacks (3.00 per game), 23rd in scoring offense (34.38 ppg), 26th in passing efficiency (144.02), 33rd in rushing offense (200.56 ypg), 37th in turnover margin (+0.56 per game), 39th in rushing defense (123.31 ypg), and 40th in kickoff returns (21.62 ypr).

In addition to setting the following single-season school records -- rushing yards (3,209), rushing attempts (699), rushing TDs (43), passing efficiency rating (144.0), average yards per pass attempt (8.4), total offense (6,083), all-purpose yards (7,880), points (550), total TDs (74), extra points (70), kickoff returns for a touchdown (3), interception return yards (401), tackles for loss (109/84 solo + 50 asst.), quarterback sacks (48.0/40 solo + 16 asst.) and pass break-ups (54) -- Wayne State also became the first NCAA Division II school to play 16 games in a season, and the only one heading into the 2016 campaign.

Winters became the school’s all-time football wins leader when the Warriors recorded a double-overtime victory at Hillsdale on Oct. 22, 2011.

The 2011 senior class compiled a 35-14 mark surpassing the previous wins mark of 30 by the 1978 class.  In addition, 30 members of the 2011 national finalist squad received conference all-academic accolades.

In 2010, WSU set then school records for overall wins (9), conference wins (8), points in a season (347), passing completion percentage (59.9%), and yards per pass attempt (7.67), while tying the institutional mark for touchdowns in a season (45).

All these accomplishments plus a 12th-place ranking in the final regular-season AFCA national poll earned Winters the AFCA Division II Regional Coach of the Year award.

His 2010 offense ranked 30th nationally in rushing (194.73 yards per game), 45th in scoring (31.55 points per game), 46th in passing efficiency (135.41) and 59th in total offense (381.00 yards per game).

Jones became the first WSU defensive player to earn First Team All-America honors in school history following the 2010 campaign.

The two-time GLIAC Coach of the Year (2006 and 2008), Winters led the Warriors to four consecutive winning seasons (2008-11) for the first time since 1974-78.

In addition, senior running back Joique Bell was selected as the NCAA Division II Player of the Year (Harlon Hill Trophy), played in the Senior Bowl and participated in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis after rushing for 29 touchdowns and 2,084 yards in 2009.  Bell played eight NFL games during the 2010 regular season and totaled nearly 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2012 with the Detroit Lions.  Bell teamed with Reggie Bush in 2013 to become the first running back tandem with over 500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards each in an NFL season.  In 2014, Bell rushed for 860 yards and seven touchdowns.  His six-year NFL totals are 2,235 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns,  along with 1,640 receiving yards.

Winters’ 2008 squad became the first team in school history to be ranked in the AFCA poll.  Earlier that year, he was one of 28 coaches nationally selected to participate in the 2008 NCAA Expert Coaches Academy.

Winters became the first WSU football coach to earn GLIAC Coach of the Year honors since Dick Lowry in 1975 following a successful 2006 campaign in which the Warriors ranked 10th nationally in kickoff returns, and 13th in both rushing offense and punt return defense. WSU was also ranked regionally until the final poll.

In 2006, Bell eclipsed the NCAA Division II freshman rushing record by gaining 2,065 yards and became the first WSU player named to the AFCA All-America squad since the AFCA began selecting All-America teams in 1945. Bell and David Chudzinski were also named to the AP Little, and Daktronics All-America squads and were joined by Derrion Fuqua on the Hansen’s Gazette All-America team.

After helping the Warriors improve five places in the GLIAC standings from 2004 to 2005, WSU improved another four places in 2006 and recorded the first winning season in more than a decade.

In his 12 years at WSU, Winters has coached 270 Academic All-GLIAC selections, 14 Academic All-District honorees, 36 All-Region selections and 131 All-GLIAC award winners.

Winters was hired as the school’s 19th football coach by WSU Director of Athletics Rob Fournier on December 17, 2003, after serving on the staff at the University of Akron the previous nine years.

Prior to his appointment at WSU, Winters was listed as one of the top 10 African-American head coaching candidates in the nation by the Black Coaches Association.

After the 2000 season, and for the second time, Winters was nominated for the Broyles Award, a national honor recognizing the nation’s top Division I-A assistant coach. In addition, he was chosen Assistant Coach of the Year by the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the National Football Foundation from among 13 universities and colleges in the region.

Before returning to Akron following the 1994 campaign, Winters was an assistant football coach at the University of Wisconsin for two seasons (1990-91). Prior to UW, he was on the coaching staff at the University of Toledo for four seasons (1986-89).

In his previous stint on the Akron coaching staff, Winters served on Jim Dennison’s staff as offensive backfield coach for two seasons after being a graduate assistant for the `82 and `83 campaigns.

Winters was inducted into the UA Athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 2, 1990. He earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial management in `80 and a M.S. degree in education in 1984.

The seventh all-time leading rusher in school history, he rushed for 2,613 yards during his Zips career and was named 1980 UA Athlete of the Year. Winters was a three-time letterman and a three-time recipient of the Harry “Doc” Smith Award as the outstanding player in his class. In `79, Winters was selected as the Zips’ offensive MVP. He was a prep star at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

A former member of the AFCA Division II Board of Coaches, Winters currently serves on the NCAA Regional Ranking Committee as well as the NCAA Rules Committee.

Winters has four children, Christian, Monica, Melanie and Natalie and is married to the former Mya Hill.