Michigan football hires Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator

Orion Sang
Detroit Free Press

Michigan football has hired Mike Macdonald as defensive coordinator, the program announced Sunday afternoon.

“Mike is an excellent defensive mind who is highly respected across the NFL,” said Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh in a release. “He has been a valuable member of the Baltimore Ravens staff, and shown a passion for teaching, coaching and developing his players. We are excited about everything that Mike brings to our defense, team and university, and look forward to welcoming him and his fiancé Stephanie to our Michigan Football family.”

Macdonald, 33, was previously the linebackers coach for the Ravens, where he worked under John Harbaugh, Jim's brother. 

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Mike Macdonald.

“It is an honor to join Coach Harbaugh’s staff at the University of Michigan,” Macdonald said in the release. “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! Stephanie and I are excited to join the Michigan family, and we are very thankful for this opportunity – Go Blue!”

Macdonald spent seven seasons with the Ravens, coaching the linebackers between 2018-20 and the defensive backs in 2017. He was a defensive assistant from 2015-16 and an intern in 2014, his first season in Baltimore. 

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Before his tenure with the Ravens, Macdonald was a safeties and defensive quality control coach at Georgia for three years. His last season at the college level was in 2013.

The hiring comes roughly a week after a source told the Free Press that Macdonald had emerged as a prime candidate to be Michigan's defensive coordinator. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, meanwhile, reported Macdonald would accept the job once the Ravens' playoff run ended — which occurred Saturday night when Baltimore lost to the Buffalo Bills. 

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Macdonald, who is replacing former defensive coordinator Don Brown, will now be tasked with reviving a defense that finished No. 89 in total defense this season.

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletterThe Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content