Thoughts on Michigan football keeping Steve Clinkscale, potential DC hire

Michigan football is keeping a key assistant coach in Steve Clinkscale, plus more reporting about who the next defensive coordinator could be.
Michigan Spring Football Game
Michigan Spring Football Game / Jaime Crawford/GettyImages

Wednesday was another wild day on the coaching search front for Michigan football. Yet, all is well that ends well and there was some tremendous news late last night as it was reported by Sam Webb of the Michigan Insider that Steve Clinkscale will return.

There were questions about the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach returning. It seemed obvious that he was interested in being the play-caller. However, according to Webb's report, Clink has informed Michigan football players that he will be returning next season.

What Clink return means for Michigan football

In terms of player retention, it's massive for Michigan football. Clink has also been on the staff the past three years and the pass defense has been elite since his arrival. He was the defensive passing game coordinator in 2021, before getting promoted to co-defensive coordinator.

At the very least, it stems the tide of negative news, which continued this week with Mike Elston leaving for the Chargers. Beyond the retention of Clink, there appears to be some real movement on the defensive coordinator front.

Joe Cullen was thought to be the leading candidate and it seemed like things were trending in the right direction for Michigan football. However, Webb reported that Cullen is going to stay with the Chiefs, meaning Sherrone Moore has shifted his focus to Wink Martindale.

Martindale is the former Ravens defensive coordinator who spent the past two seasons as the DC for the Giants. Martindale is known as the creator of the defense Michigan football has been running. Both Jesse Minter and Mike Macdonald coached under him.

Martindale hasn't coached in college football in decades, since 2003 to be exact when the was the linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for Jack Harbaugh at Western Michigan. So there are ties to the Harbaugh family.

Moore has talked about the importance of keeping the same system in place. I'm worried about Martindale on the recruiting trail, but if we are being honest, Minter and Macdonald weren't super active on the recruiting trail either. They did recruit, but it wasn't their strong suit and as long as Martindale can be elite calling the defense, the rest won't matter as much.


The Michigan football staff might not look the way that fans wanted after Jim Harbaugh's departure, but adding Martindale and keeping Clink is a boon for Moore, assuming Martindale accepts the job following an expected job interview on Thursday.