Don “Wink” Martindale, renowned for his defensive expertise in the NFL, is making a significant pivot back to the collegiate ranks as the University of Michigan announces his appointment as the new defensive coordinator. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed the news on Friday, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Martindale’s transition to Michigan follows a two-season stint with the New York Giants, where he served before parting ways by mutual agreement at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign. Prior to his time in New York, Martindale enjoyed a fruitful tenure as the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, showcasing his prowess over four successful years.
The seasoned coach steps into the role vacated by Jesse Minter, who departed to join the Los Angeles Chargers after following former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Martindale’s arrival coincides with Michigan’s triumphant victory in the College Football Playoff, marking a historic achievement for the program. With Sherrone Moore assuming the head coaching position following Harbaugh’s NFL return, Martindale adds seasoned leadership to the Wolverines’ coaching staff.
Martindale, aged 60, brings a wealth of NFL coaching experience spanning nearly two decades. His journey commenced with the Oakland Raiders in 2004, where he honed his skills as an inside linebackers coach before ascending to the role of defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos in 2010. Notably, Martindale’s tenure with the Ravens under John Harbaugh saw him transition from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator, culminating in a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
Prior to his NFL ventures, Martindale embarked on a coaching odyssey that began at Defiance College, his alma mater, and included notable stops at institutions such as Notre Dame, the University of Cincinnati, Western Illinois, and Western Kentucky.
Martindale’s return to the collegiate realm signifies a pivotal moment in his esteemed coaching career, as he brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Wolverines’ defensive unit.