Michigan football will hire Don “Wink” Martindale, report says
Michigan football has returned to the NFL well to fill its head defensive coaching position.
Don “Wink” Martindale, a defensive mind with more than a decade of NFL ties, will be named the next defensive coordinator on Friday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a UM alumnus.
A group of reports said Martindale, 60, traveled to Ann Arbor earlier this week to meet with new Wolverines coach Sherron Moore as part of his search for a replacement for Jesse Minter, who has decided to join Jim Harbaugh in Los Angeles as the team’s capital. Chargers, extended into Week 2.
Many thought the Baltimore-to-Ann Arbor pipeline may have dried up with Harbaugh leaving for the NFL, but this move showed it’s not over yet. Martindale was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator under John Harbaugh (2018-21), a promotion that only came after he coached linebackers for six years (2012-17), which included the end of the Hall of Fame careers of Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggests.
Prior to that, Martindale coached the Oakland Raiders (2004-2008) and held the same position with the Denver Broncos (2009).
Martindale worked alongside Mike McDonald, who coached the linebackers for three years (2018-20), and Minter (defensive assistant in 2018, assistant defensive backs coach in 2019, defensive backs coach in 2020) before McDonald left to take the D.C. job. At once. Arbor in 2021, while Minter took on the same role at Vanderbilt.
McDonald returned to Baltimore to coach Martindale after the 2021 season, which is when Minter came to Ann Arbor (2022-23) and left his mark on Amoeba’s defense.
Martindale, who spent the past two years coordinating the New York Giants’ defense, is familiar with the ideas of multiple fronts: he helped design them during his tenure in Baltimore, which is not only expected to help with the transition, but the hope in UM circles is that this will help In keeping the defense intact and not exploring transfer portal options.
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Martindale will replace Minter (Chargers) as defensive coordinator, Justin Trice replaces Ben Herbert (Chargers) as head of strength and conditioning, analyst J.B. Brown is promoted to take over Jay Harbaugh’s (Seahawks) role as special teams coordinator, and Kirk Campbell moves from quarterbacks coach to Offensive coordinator, Grant Newsome was promoted from tight ends coach to offensive line coach.
Martindale is familiar with metro Detroit. Shortly after graduating from Defiance College, he got a job with his family’s trucking company where he frequently drove Midwest routes, from Dayton to Detroit.