Michigan has found its next defensive coordinator.
On Sunday, Jim Harbaugh’s football program announced the hire of Mike Macdonald, a 33-year-old assistant coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
Macdonald replaces Don Brown, who was dismissed on Dec. 22 after five seasons at the helm of the Wolverines’ defense.
In a statement, Harbaugh lauded Macdonald as an “excellent defensive mind” who’s “highly respected across the NFL.”
“He has been a valuable member of the Baltimore Ravens staff, and shown a passion for teaching, coaching, and developing his players,” Harbaugh said. “We are excited about everything that Mike brings to our defense, team and university, and look forward to welcoming him and his fiance Stephanie to our Michigan Football family.”
Macdonald spent the last seven seasons in Baltimore, where’s made a meteoric rise in the coaching profession. The last three have been spent as linebackers coach, while he coached defensive backs in 2017 and served as a defensive assistant in 2016 and 2015.
He first arrived in the Ravens organization in 2014 as an intern, after serving as a graduate assistant at the University of Georgia for three seasons. Macdonald has no direct coordinating experience at the college or pro levels, making this an outside-the-box hire for Harbaugh.
“It is an honor to join Coach Harbaugh’s staff at the University of Michigan,” Macdonald said in a statement. “I firmly believe in his vision and am excited to get to work. Our staff will work tirelessly to develop our young men both on and off the field – I cannot wait to meet and develop relationships with our players, staff, and community!
Macdonald has coached NFL Pro Bowl players the last five seasons with the Ravens, a wide-ranging talent pool that includes Matthew Judon (2019-20), C.J. Mosley (2018) and safety Eric Weddle (2017-18). The Ravens’ staff is led by John Harbaugh, the brother of Jim Harbaugh.
At Georgia, Macdonald graduated summa cum laude from Georgia with a degree in finance and master’s degree in sports management. While in college, he also served as an assistant coach for at nearby Cedar Shoals High School.
Macdonald takes over a largely young and inexperienced defense, a unit molded to fit Brown’s fast, aggressive style of play. The Wolverines are set to lose star defensive end Kwity Paye and junior linebacker Cam McGrone to the NFL, while end Aidan Hutchinson and safety Brad Hawkins, both eligible to depart, have announced their intentions of returning in 2021.
Contract details for Macdonald were not immediately available, but his arrival could bring substantial change to Michigan’s defensive staff. Two assistant coaches, Shaun Nua (defensive line) and Mike Zordich (cornerbacks), are working on expired contracts while safeties coach Bob Shoop, hired last year, spent most of the 2020 working remotely, a decision made stemming from a private matter.