Wink Martindale Expresses ‘Proud Parent’ Sentiments Witnessing Jesse Minter and Mike MacDonald’s Success

Published 03/15/2024, 10:39 PM EDT

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After an impressive four-decade career, Don “Wink” Martindale’s name has become synonymous with defense. He’s won a college championship and a Super Bowl as a DC. Recently, the 60-year-old joined the Michigan Wolverines as their defensive leader after two years with the New York Giants and a very successful four years leading the defense for the Baltimore Ravens.

He now takes over from Jesse Minter, who went with former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh to the Los Angeles Chargers. At his first press conference before spring training, Wink talked about his plans for the team and his pride in what his former assistants, Jesse Minter and Mike MacDonald, have accomplished.

Martindale takes pride in Michigan’s former DCs


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At a recent press conference, Michigan Wolverines’ new Defensive Coordinator, Wink Martindale, spoke fondly about his former colleagues, Mike Macdonald and Jesse Minter. “We were all together, you know, Mike, Jesse, and I, and obviously others you’ve seen throughout the NFL,” Martindale said. He further talked about the defensive system, noting that six teams, including Michigan, are excelling in their work. Martindale also acknowledged the diversity in coaching styles, highlighting how each coach’s level of aggressiveness—less or more—influences the game.

Meanwhile, his pride in his former colleagues shone throughout. “I think Mike and Jesse both did a tremendous job here at Michigan. It’s fun for me to watch the tape because you do become the proud parent if you will. You know, seeing other guys’ success and everything else, because I think as a defensive coordinator, that’s my job – not only to develop players but develop coaches as well. And you’re seeing a lot of success with those guys,” he said. Thus, he conveyed a sense of excitement about building upon the strong foundation in Ann Arbor.


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Passing the torch: Wink takes over his protégés

Minter and Macdonald sharpened their skills together as position coaches for the Baltimore Ravens, learning under the defensive mastermind Wink Martindale. In 2021, Michigan hired the rising star Macdonald from the Ravens’ linebackers coaching staff as their new DC. Despite his lack of coordinator experience, Macdonald silenced doubters with a phenomenal first year. His success even caught the eye of his former team, the Ravens, who lured him back to Baltimore. After that, Michigan tapped into the “Martindale coaching tree” again in 2022, selecting Jesse Minter. Minter built upon Macdonald’s foundation, further solidifying the Wolverines’ impressive defense. However, when Jim Harbaugh left for the Chargers, he took Minter, creating a defensive coordinator vacancy in Ann Arbor.

Read More: Sherrone Moore Battles Uphill as Michigan Staffs’ Drought Persists Without Jim Harbaugh


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New head coach Sherrone Moore didn’t waste time searching. He went straight to the source, securing the mastermind himself – Wink Martindale. While Martindale’s defensive scheme in Michigan shares similarities with his NFL playbook, some key adjustments are to be made for the college game. What truly excites is the opportunity to continue the winning tradition established by his former colleagues. Share your thoughts on this in the comments below.

Read More: 3 Reasons Why Wink Martindale’s Hiring as Michigan’s DC Is a Masterstroke From Sherrone Moore & Co.


Written by:

M.R. Jenifer


One take at a time

Jenifer Martin is a college football writer for EssentiallySports. Recently, her coverage has focused on the latest developments in college football, including the transfer portal phenomenon and its impact on team dynamics. Before joining ES, she was a part of Pinkvilla as a fitness and sportainment writer.
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Edited by:

Shubhankar Adhikari