ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh announced on Sunday the hiring of Baltimore Ravens linebacker coach Mike Macdonald as the program’s defensive coordinator. Macdonald, 35, joins the Wolverines’ coaching staff after seven seasons with the Ravens.
“Mike is an excellent defensive mind who is highly respected across the NFL,” said Harbaugh. “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.”
“It is an honor to join Coach Harbaugh’s staff at the University of Michigan,” said Macdonald, Michigan’s Lester Family Defensive Coordinator. “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!”
The Ravens won the AFC North twice during Macdonald’s tenure and finished second on three other occasions. Macdonald coached the linebackers in Baltimore for the past three seasons (2018-20) and mentored the defensive backs during the 2017 season. He spent two seasons as a defensive assistant (2015-16) after beginning his tenure with the team as a coaching intern on defense (2014).
Baltimore was a top 10 scoring defense in six of Macdonald’s seven years, including ranking second in the league (2018 and 2020). The Ravens defense allowed the fewest yards in the NFL during the 2018 season finished in the top 8 in six of his seven seasons. In 2017, he helped coach a secondary that led the NFL in turnovers (34). His unit also led the league in interceptions (22) for the second year in a row (18 in 2016).
Macdonald has coached at least one Pro Bowl performer in five consecutive seasons with the Ravens, with linebackers Matthew Judon (2019-20) and C.J. Mosley (2018) and safety Eric Weddle (2016-17) receiving the recognition.
Macdonald worked for three seasons under head coach Mark Richt at his alma mater, the University of Georgia (2011-13), before making the move to the Ravens. He helped the Bulldogs compile a 30-11 record and reach three New Year’s Day bowl games during his three-year tenure with the program.
In 2013, Macdonald coached Ramik Wilson to first-team All-SEC honors after recording a conference-leading 133 tackles and 11 TFLs. Macdonald helped lead a Georgia defense that allowed 175.6 passing yards and 19.6 points per game in 2012, ranking eighth and 18th, respectively, in the country. As a defensive graduate assistant in 2011, he helped the staff produce one of the NCAA’s top units, listing fifth in total defense (277.0 avg.), 10th in pass defense (176.0 avg.) and 11th in rushing defense (101.2 avg.). Macdonald was hired as a student assistant in May 2010, and helped coach and run the offensive scout team during his first season. He worked with the outside linebackers before moving to inside linebackers during the 2011 spring practice.
Macdonald graduated summa cum laude with a finance degree from UGA’s Terry College of Business in 2010. He earned his master’s degree in sports management from Georgia in 2013 during his time as the safeties and defensive quality control coach for the Bulldogs.
While attending Georgia, Macdonald coached the linebackers and running backs at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens (2008-09), earning the program’s Coach of the Year award following his first season with the Jaguars.
He played football and baseball at Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia. Macdonald and his fiancée, Stephanie, will be married in 2021.