February 22, 2024

Michigan hiring Wink Martindale: Longtime NFL assistant to replace Jesse Minter as defensive coordinator

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Michigan is hiring longtime NFL defensive assistant Don “Wink” Martindale to replace Jesse Minter as the program’s defensive coordinator, 247Sports confirmed. Martindale spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants after previously working as DC for the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos.

Landing Martindale, 60, will give first-year head coach Sherrone Moore a veteran voice in command of the Wolverines’ defense. Martindale, 60, made stops at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Western Illinois and Western Kentucky early in his coaching career before spending the past two decades in the professional ranks.

Minter followed former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh to the Los Angeles Chargers to take the defensive coordinator role there. His departure left Moore to make a critical hire as the Wolverines seek to regroup following the loss of Harbaugh and numerous key players from their national-title winning team.

Martindale reportedly suffered a falling out with the Giants late in the 2023 season but is a well-respected defensive mind who earned a Super Bowl ring while serving as the Ravens’ linebackers coach in 2012. Moore comes from an offensive background and is expected to grant freedom to his defensive coordinator.

Harbaugh is gone, but the family-based feeder system which brought quality NFL assistants such as Minter to Michigan under Jim Harbaugh is alive and well. Martindale’s decade in Baltimore under John Harbaugh from 2012-21 is a sure sign he comes to Michigan with the family’s seal of approval.

Similarly, Minter worked for Harbaugh’s brother, John Harbaugh, on the Ravens staff from 2017 to 2020 and spent one season at Vanderbilt before landing on Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan staff in 2022 and fielding a dominant unit.