The Denver Broncos on Thursday promoted Don "Wink" Martindale to defensive coordinator, it was announced. Martindale coached the club's linebackers in 2009 after spending five years in that role with the Oakland Raiders.
"We are excited to name Wink Martindale our defensive coordinator," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said. "Wink is the perfect fit to lead our defense after earning the respect of our players and coaching staff for the job he did this past year working with our linebackers.
"Defensively, we will keep our system consistent in terms of the scheme and will play an aggressive, physical brand of football. Most importantly, we want to continue to improve. Wink holds his players to a very high standard, both on the field and in the meeting room, and he makes them better. He is highly regarded within our organization, and we look forward to him leading our defense."
Before beginning his NFL coaching career with the Raiders in 2004, the 46-year-old Martindale worked as the defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky University in 2003 and helped the Hilltoppers rank sixth in Division I-AA in yards per game allowed. He also worked as a defensive coordinator at Western Illinois University in 1999 after coaching in various defensive roles at the University of Cincinnati (1996-98) and the University of Notre Dame (1994-95).
Martindale spent six years coaching at the high school level in Ohio after beginning his coaching career in 1986 at Defiance College, where he played linebacker and earned a bachelor's degree in business education.
As the Broncos' linebackers coach in 2009, Martindale oversaw a unit that helped Denver rank seventh in the NFL in total yards per game allowed (315.0) and third in the league in passing yards per game allowed (186.3). He helped OLB/DE Elvis Dumervil become the first league sack champion in Broncos history with the fourth-year player posting a club-record 17 sacks to earn Pro Bowl honors in his first season at linebacker.
In addition, ILB D.J. Williams was named a Pro Bowl alternate under Martindale in 2009 after leading the club with 122 tackles that ranked sixth in the AFC according to press box statistics.
An all-state linebacker at Trotwood-Madison High School in Trotwood, Ohio, Martindale was born on May 19, 1963, in Dayton, Ohio. He is married to Laura, and the couple has one daughter (Cassie) and one son (Ty).