Michigan football formally announces Wink Martindale, defensive staff

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It’s been exactly one month since Michigan football was revealed to be hiring former Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale, whose defense was the archetype for those run in Ann Arbor under Mike Macdonald and Jesse Minter. Not too long after, the Wolverines were revealed to be bringing in former Wisconsin defensive line coach Greg Scruggs, prodigal linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary, and former Louisiana defensive coordinator LaMar Morgan as the new secondary coach.

On Friday, the maize and blue finally made the formal announcement that all have been added to the staff.

You can read the full press release below featuring background on all four coaches and Sherrone Moore’s reaction to hiring each of them.

Full release

University of Michigan J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach Sherrone Moore announced Friday (March 8) the hiring of four full-time assistants to lead the Wolverines’ defensive coaching staff.

Moore’s first staff is led by Don “Wink” Martindale, U-M’s Matt and Nicole Lester Family Defensive Coordinator, who brings 19 years of NFL coaching experience to the program. Martindale was the architect of the defensive scheme that Michigan has run for the past three seasons and will continue to utilize as the framework for its 2024 unit.

The staff includes defensive line coach Greg Scruggs, linebackers coach/run game coordinator Brian Jean-Mary and defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator LaMar Morgan. The Wolverines have also added former defensive back Brad Hawkins as a graduate assistant coach.

“I am excited about the quality of the coaches that we have assembled on the defensive side of the football,” said Moore. “Men of great character who love the game of football and are tremendous teachers. They will put our defensive players in great position to succeed on and off the field. I am excited to work with this outstanding group of assistant coaches as we pursue championships for the University of Michigan.”

Following are comments from Moore on each of the full-time assistant coaches and biographical information on each individual:

Moore on Wink Martindale

“I am excited to have Coach Martindale join our staff as defensive coordinator. He has coached hall of fame players, coordinated some of the best defenses in football and his expertise and knowledge will help our players excel on the field. We are so excited to have the mentor to so many great defensive players and coaches join our staff at Michigan.”

Martindale Biography

He has coordinated the defense at three different stops in the NFL and has worked with four franchises over a 19-year career in the league: New York Giants (2022-23), Baltimore Ravens (2012-21), Denver Broncos (2009-10) and Oakland Raiders (2004-09). Martindale was the coordinator for the Broncos in 2010, served four seasons with the Ravens (2018-21) and spent two years heading up the Giants’ efforts (2022-23).

Across his time in the NFL, Martindale helped his players achieve 22 Pro Bowl seasons and 10 All-Pro campaigns, including four first-team performers in Elvis Dumervil (twice – Denver, 2009; Baltimore, 2014), Terrell Suggs (Baltimore, 2011) and Marlon Humphrey (Baltimore, 2019).

In New York, he helped the organization reach the playoffs in 2022, winning the Wild Card round against the Minnesota Vikings before losing to the eventual Super Bowl runner-up Philadelphia Eagles. Martindale was honored with the 2023 Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award, which is presented for lifetime achievement as an NFL assistant coach.

Martindale began a 10-year run with the Ravens organization as part of head coach John Harbaugh’s staff, consistently producing some of the NFL’s best defensive units. Martindale coached the inside linebackers for four seasons (2012-15) before leading the entire linebacking unit for two seasons (2016-17) and ending with a four-year run as defensive coordinator (2018-21). In his first season with the franchise, the Ravens went on to win Super Bowl XLVII as hall of famer Ray Lewis posted an NFL-leading 51 tackles in the postseason for a defense that forced 10 turnovers during that stretch.

The Ravens compiled a 43-22 record during that time and his units ranked in the top three in the NFL in points allowed in each of his first three seasons as a coordinator, and first, fourth and seventh, respectively, in yardage yielded while never finishing lower than eight against the run or the pass.

In Martindale’s first three seasons as a coordinator, Baltimore permitted both the league’s fewest points (18.2 avg.) and total yards per game (307.8) and was tied for the league lead with 12 defensive touchdowns. The Ravens led the league in number of players to record a sack (33) and second-half points allowed (401) during those three seasons, while ranking No. 2 in fourth-down stops (41) and opponent QB rating (81.9).

His 2021 defense led the NFL against the run, allowing 84.5 yards a game. Baltimore’s opponents converted only 34.8 percent of third down chances, the league’s third-best figure.

Martindale’s 2019 defense ranked fourth in the NFL by allowing 300.6 yards and helped the Ravens finish with a franchise-best 14-2 record and second straight AFC North Division title. The team’s six defensive touchdowns were tied for the second most in franchise history.

In 2018, the Ravens yielded an NFL-best 292.9 yards per game and established a modern era mark by not allowing a second-half touchdown in the first six games of the season. Martindale was recognized by Sports Illustrated/MMQB as the Assistant Coach of the Year and was the AP NFL runner-up for the same award.

Martindale joined the Broncos’ staff as linebackers coach in 2009 and aided a unit in Denver that ranked seventh in the NFL in yards per game. He mentored Dumervil, who led the league in sacks (17), to Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors in his first year playing linebacker. In 2010, Martindale was promoted to defensive coordinator and worked with eventual hall of famers Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins.

In 2004, he made the move to the NFL and spent five seasons coaching linebackers for the Raiders (2004-08). Martindale spent his first two seasons working with the inside linebackers and assumed the entire linebacking corps over his final three seasons with the organization.

Martindale spent 12 years in the college ranks, including eight as a defensive coordinator. In that time, his players produced 30 all-conference honors and six I-AA All-American citations.

Prior to jumping to the NFL with the Raiders, Martindale was an assistant coach for three seasons (2001-03) at Western Kentucky under head coach Jack Harbaugh. Martindale was the special teams coordinator and inside linebackers coach during his first two seasons, which included WKU’s run to the 2002 Division I FCS national championship. He was promoted to defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach for the 2003, where the unit ranked sixth nationally in yards allowed per game.

Martindale was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Western Illinois (1999). He spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati, beginning his tenure as the defensive ends coach (1996) and was promoted to special teams coordinator and linebackers coach during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

He worked as a defensive assistant coach at Notre Dame during the 1994 and 1995 seasons, with the Irish earning trips to the Fiesta Bowl and Orange Bowl during his tenure.

Martindale played safety and linebacker at Defiance College, earning his bachelor’s degree in business education. He spent two years coaching at his alma mater, coaching the secondary during the 1986 and 1987 seasons. Martindale was elevated to defensive coordinator during his final season with the program.

A Dayton, Ohio, native, Martindale was an all-state linebacker at Trotwood-Madison High School.

Moore on Coach Greg Scruggs:

“I have known Greg since our time together at Louisville and have always appreciated his drive and passion for the game. We have stayed in contact through the years, and I always knew that Greg would be a great leader and teacher for a program that I was fortunate enough to assemble. Greg is a great football coach and an even better person. He will be an outstanding mentor for our players, especially the guys on the defensive line, and will help them achieve their football goals.”

Scruggs Biography

Prior to working with the Badgers, Scruggs spent the 2022 season in the NFL as an assistant defensive line coach with the New York Jets, where he worked with first-team all-pro defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (12 sacks), defensive end Carl Lawson (seven sacks), and tackle John Franklin-Myers (5.0 sacks). The Jets finished fourth in scoring defense (18.6 points per game) and seventh in sacks (45).

Scruggs began his coaching career at Cincinnati where he was defensive line coach for two seasons (2020-21) following two years as the program’s Director of Player Development (2018-19). In that role, Scruggs was the program’s NFL liaison, mentored UC players, and managed off-field initiatives such as team community service efforts. His tenure as defensive line coach coincided with the most successful stretch in program history, culminating with an appearance in the 2021 CFP Semifinal in the Cotton Bowl.

The Bearcats went 22-2 over the 2020-21 seasons while the defense ranked eighth (16.8) and 10th (16.5) in scoring defense, and 13th (324.6) and 10th (318.4) in total defense while racking up 30 and 39 sacks. Scruggs coached four players to six All-AAC accolades including three first-team and two second-team honors. He helped UC defensive end Myjai Sanders (third round, Arizona Cardinals) and defensive tackle Curtis Brooks (sixth round, Indianapolis Colts) become 2022 NFL Draft picks.

Scruggs was part of the 2011 Big East Conference Championship-winning team as a four-year player at Louisville (2008-11). He appeared in 42 games with 26 starts, totaling 61 tackles including eight sacks, and graduated with his degree in Sociology.

The Seattle Seahawks drafted Scruggs in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he went on to have a five-year NFL career that included two Super Bowl titles (XLVIII, Seattle; LI, New England). Scruggs spent four years with the Seahawks (2012-15) before finishing the 2015 season with the Chicago Bears. He signed with the New England Patriots during the 2016 season.

A Cincinnati, Ohio, native, Scruggs attended St. Xavier, where he was part of the nation’s top-ranked high school football team and also played basketball.

Scruggs serves on the international board of directors and as a national spokesperson for Boys Hope Girls Hope, an organization centered on cultivating youth empowerment through the foundation of education and holistic support.

Moore on Coach Brian Jean-Mary

“Brian has been a part of my coaching network for many years. He is a great coach and communicator that I have been fortunate enough to work with and learn from at two different schools (Louisville and Michigan). Brian is an outstanding recruiter and developer of players, and I am really excited to have him lead our linebacking corps. He is familiar with our program and university and will jump right back in and make a major contribution to our team and program.”

Jean-Mary Biography

Jean-Mary is a 23-year coaching veteran with expertise on the defensive side of the ball and experience as an assistant head coach, having spent 10 seasons on the defensive staffs of Charlie Strong. He has coached in 19 bowl games and been part of four conference championship-winning teams during his career. An ace recruiter, Jean-Mary has helped produce top-15 signing classes at Texas (three), Tennessee (two), Georgia Tech (one), and U-M (one) along with a top-30 class at Louisville.

Jean-Mary has helped 10 players hear their names called in the NFL Draft: Louisville defensive backs Calvin Pryor (2014, first round) and Johnny Patrick (2011, third round), Louisville defensive ends Marcus Smith (2014, first round), Lorenzo Mauldin (2015, third round), Greg Scruggs (2012, seventh round), Michigan linebacker Cameron McGrone (2021, fifth round), Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks (2015, third round), Louisville linebackers Preston Brown (2014, third round) and Deiontrez Mount (2015, sixth round), and Georgia Tech linebackers Gerris Wilkinson (2005, third round) and Philip Wheeler (2008, third round).

At Tennessee, Jean-Mary helped the Volunteers rank top-10 in tackles for loss in all three seasons and top-10 in sacks once. Twice, the defense was top-20 in rushing defense and red zone defense. Linebacker Jeremy Banks totaled 128 tackles in Jean-Mary’s first season, the most by a UT linebacker since 2012. The defense doubled its TFL output (108) from the year before. In 2022, the Volunteers won 11 games including the Orange Bowl.

During his first stint in Ann Arbor, Jean-Mary helped Josh Ross (53 tackles), Michael Barrett (44), and McGrone (26) lead the linebacker unit; Ross set a high in solo tackles despite a six-game season. Barrett was All-Big Ten honorable mention in his first year as a starter while linebackers combined for 8.5 of the team’s 24 tackles for loss.

Over three seasons as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at USF (2017-19), Jean-Mary helped the Bulls’ defense become one of the nation’s best at forcing turnovers, defending the pass, and getting to the quarterback. USF collected 69 turnovers across three seasons (24, 21, 24) and ranked top-30 in turnovers twice. The Bulls ranked top-five in tackles for loss twice and in red-zone defense once. In his first year, the Bulls led the American Conference in total defense, improving from 120th to 37th from the year before, and scoring defense, improving from 92nd to 41st. Defensive tackle Deadrin Senat was one of five all-conference defenders before being drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

At Texas, Jean-Mary developed four All-Big 12 linebackers and an All-American in Hicks (2014). UT averaged more than three sacks per game and ranked top-12 nationally in sacks in all three seasons he was on staff, including two top-five campaigns. Texas was top-25 nationally in six categories in 2014 and led the nation in fumble recoveries, finishing 11th the following years.

Before Texas, Jean-Mary worked as assistant head coach/linebackers coach at Louisville where the Cardinals won 37 games and two Big East Championships (2011, ’12) across four seasons (2010-14). UL won three bowl games including the 2013 Sugar Bowl over No. 4 Florida. Louisville’s .885 win percentage (23-3) was the fourth-best in the nation across the 2012-13 seasons. Louisville posted back-to-back 7-6 seasons in 2010-11 and won a share of the 2011 Big East Title. The defense was top-20 in five categories in both seasons, including top-10 marks in pass defense and sacks per game in 2010, and rushing defense in 2011.

The Cardinals went 11-2 in 2012 to finish 13th in the BCS Standings with top-25 marks in passing defense and total defense. In 2013, the unit was among the nation’s best, leading the country in total defense, rushing defense, sacks per game, first downs allowed, and third-down defense with five other top-10 rankings.

Jean-Mary spent six seasons coaching linebackers at Georgia Tech from 2004-09, guiding the defense to rank top-30 in rushing, scoring, and total defense in five of his six years on staff. The Yellow Jackets led the nation in sacks and ranked second in tackles for loss in 2007 and finished top-20 in both categories in 2008. In 2009, Georgia Tech went 11-3 with an ACC Championship and made the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl.

Jean-Mary got started as a graduate assistant on the strength and conditioning staff at Louisville in 2000 before spending two seasons under Lou Holtz at South Carolina as a defensive graduate assistant coach (2001-02). He then got his first full-time coaching job at North Alabama (2003), a highly successful NCAA Division II program, where he helped the Lions go 13-2, win the Gulf South Conference Championship, and clinch a berth in the semifinals of the 2003 NCAA Division II playoffs while allowing 14.1 points per game (sixth nationally).

Jean-Mary is a native of Apopka, Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1998 in political science from Appalachian State, where he played linebacker from 1993-97.

Moore on Coach LaMar Morgan:

“LaMar is someone that I have enjoyed getting to know through this process. He came highly recommended by Jesse Minter and I saw why he is respected as an top notch defensive backs coach during our conversations. He is an excellent teacher and communicator, and his passion for football and for helping young men achieve their goals showed through in his interview. I am excited to have LaMar mentoring our defensive secondary and coordinating the passing game.”

Morgan Biography

Morgan came to Ann Arbor from the University of Louisiana program, where he spent two seasons (2022-23) as defensive coordinator and secondary coach. It was Morgan’s second stint with UL after he served as the program’s cornerbacks coach in 2019 and 2020.

Morgan took part in the inaugural AFCA 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute in 2018. The year before, he participated in the NCAA and NFL Coaches Academy. He also attended the NCAA Future Football Coaches Academy in 2013 at the onset of his career.

In all four seasons with Morgan on staff, the Ragin’ Cajun secondary reached double-digit interceptions (10, 16, 15, 13). The unit ranked third nationally in 2020, and top-25 across the 2022-23 seasons. The defense improved its national ranks from 55th in passing yards allowed, 110th in pass efficiency defense, 105th in scoring, and 97th in total defense before Morgan’s arrival to sixth, second, 31st, and 33rd across those four categories by the end of 2020.

Throughout his time at the University of Louisiana, Morgan helped 11 players (six defensive backs) achieve 13 all-league seasons including four first-team accolades. He worked with and helped develop three players that signed free agent contracts: Michael Jacquet and Mekhi Garner (Philadelphia Eagles) and Eric Garror (Tennessee Titans).

In between his stints at UL, Morgan spent one year as cornerbacks coach at Vanderbilt (2021), returning to the school where he began as a graduate assistant. The Commodores improved from six interceptions across 2019 and 2020 combined to 13 interceptions (33rd, NCAA) in 2021 and had a top-30 red zone defense. Morgan helped develop Allen George, a player who signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Morgan coached safeties for three seasons, first at Louisiana Monroe (2016-17) and then at Houston (2018). At ULM, the defense was 16th nationally in passing yards allowed in 2016 and 20th in interceptions in 2017 and Morgan’s safeties were among the team’s leading tacklers at both stops.

His first full-time job came at Western Carolina as secondary coach for the 2014-15 campaigns. The Catamounts were fifth in the FCS in pass defense with 11 interceptions in 2014, the team’s most in five years. Defensive back Trey Morgan was a two-time All-Southern Conference selection and posted a league-leading six interceptions in 2014. Ace Clark was a first-team pick that year as well, one of four all-SoCon players Morgan mentored.

Morgan began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for two seasons at Vanderbilt (2012-13). He worked with the sam linebackers and nickels while the team posted consecutive 9-4 records and appeared in two bowl games. In 2012, the Commodores finished 19th nationally in total defense, 15th in scoring defense, 14th in passing defense, 13th in interceptions, and sixth in pass efficiency defense. The following year in 2013, the unit was 23rd in total defense, passing defense and pass efficiency defense, and 13th in interceptions. Cornerback Andre Hall was named All-SEC second team in both seasons with safety Kenny Ladler picking up first-team honors in 2013.

Morgan played four years as a safety in the ULL program (2003, ’05-’07), appearing in 40 games. Off the field, he was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy (then the Draddy Trophy) and a five-time Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll honoree. Twice he was named to the Sun Belt Commissioner’s List.

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