Did Wink Martindale Ever Coach Michigan’s Last 2 Defensive Coordinators Jesse Minter & Mike MacDonald?

Published 02/09/2024, 9:48 AM EST

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Just when Michigan was crumbling to shambles, Sherrone Moore’s move held it together. Since Jim Harbaugh left the Chargers, several members of his team have followed him, rendering several positions at UM vacant. While Moore already announced Justin Tress as the replacement for Ben Herbert, fans were awaiting the news of Jesse Minter’s replacement. Putting an end to this widespread anticipation, Moore declared Don ‘Wink’ Martindale as the next defensive coordinator of Michigan. Well, it came as a slap to Jim Harbaugh’s, more specifically Jesse Minter’s face.

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The reason? The program that Jesse Minter and Mike McDonald, the DC before Minter, guided to the apex of overall defense charts is now secured in the hands of the one who taught them the foundations of defense. Before working at Um, Minter and McDonald worked together at the Baltimore Ravens as position coaches, under the leadership of Wink Martindale as their defensive coordinator. Moreover, Wink also boasts his record at major franchises like the Giants. However, he had not stepped foot in the college football business since 2003, when he last worked at Western Kentucky. Hence, fans can only anticipate all the learnings and maturity that Wink would bring to Michigan’s table, something that the program could really use in its current situation.

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About Jesse Minter and Mike McDonald’s shared careers at Ravens, the two worked together in the years of 2017 and 2018. It was in 2017 that Minter joined the franchise as a defensive assistant, working closely with defensive backs, and in the same year, McDonald was promoted as the defensive backs coach then. Which is the year when they both got to work under the legend Wink himself.

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 Don ‘Wink’ Martindale’s legacy

In his last college football job, which was in Western Kentucky, he worked as DC and inside linebackers coach for 3 seasons. The job proved to be a massive success, daring him to step into the world of the pro league, and since then, there has been no turning back for him. From 2004 to 2008, he worked with the Oakland Raiders as their linebackers coach. After which he shifted to the Broncos for the same position.

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Taking a break in 2011, Martindale kick-started his journey again in 2012 as Baltimore Ravens’ linebackers coach, where he was promoted to DC in 2018, working with Minter and McDonald. He was also a part of the team when they won the Super Bowl XLVII. It was in 2021 that he parted ways with the franchise, joining the Giants for 2 seasons. On January 10, 2024, the Giants and Martindale “agreed to part ways” per NFL. Which was when Moore jumped to grab the opportunity, securing him at UM.

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Written by:

Pankti Parmar

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Pankti Parmar is an NFL news writer at EssentiallySports. With an educational background in psychology and a passion for sports, she dons the coat of a sports psychologist to get a feel for players’ psyche and game tactics. She is our resident expert on Jim Harbaugh and was a huge part of our play-by-play coverage of Harbaugh’s journey from the Wolverines to the Chargers.
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Edited by:

Tripti Sarda

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