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Who is Mike Macdonald? What to know about new Seahawks head coach replacing Pete Carroll | Sporting News

John Harbaugh’s Ravens coaching staff has been worth its weight in gold over the past few seasons, and new Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald is the latest proof.

Whether it’s Todd Monken conjuring up spells as offensive coordinator or Anthony Weaver enchanting his defensive linemen, it seems any and all coaches sporting royal purple have been earmarked for future success.

Even among that elite company, Macdonald stands out. Baltimore’s former defensive coordinator is just 36, younger than a great many of his contemporaries. Yet he’s a veteran in the football world, establishing himself as one of the great young minds of his generation on that side of the ball. That had multiple franchises, including the Seahawks, sniffing around as they looked to find a new man to fill gaping holes in their coaching ranks.

And in Macdonald, Seattle has found Pete Carroll’s successor. The Seahawks are expected to hire Macdonald as their head coach, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday.

Macdonald is one of the NFL’s hottest up-and-coming coaches, but just how did the Harbaugh protege come to be in this position? The Sporting News details the rise of Macdonald, a youthful face hoping to leave his mark in Emerald City.

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Who is Mike Macdonald?

Macdonald became the Ravens defensive coordinator in 2022, when he replaced Wink Martindale after a short spell at Michigan.

Where did Mike Macdonald go to college?

A Roswell, Ga., native, Macdonald enrolled at the University of Georgia, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in finance.

Like many football minds, Macdonald has a footballing background. He treaded the gridiron at Centennial High School, although he saw little time in his senior season after being beset with injuries.

Still, football swirled in Macdonald’s blood. He decided to get involved in coaching during his time in Athens, first coaching the high school team at Cedar Shoals, then turning out for Mark Richt’s staff as a graduate assistant.

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Mike Macdonald coaching history

Macdonald rose through the coaching ranks with swiftness, being promoted from graduate assistant to the role of safeties and defensive quality control coach at Georgia in 2011.

After four seasons in Athens, Macdonald joined John Harbaugh’s staff in Baltimore. Initially hired as an intern in 2014, Macdonald did a little bit of everything during his first tenure in Charm City. Over the course of seven years, Macdonald served as defensive assistant, defensive backs coach, and linebackers coach. He oversaw the development of such talents as Marlon Humphrey, Matthew Judon, and Marcus Peters, among others.

Macdonald swapped Ravens purple for maize-and-blue, joining Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan as the program’s defensive coordinator in 2021. His impact was immediate. In his first and only season in charge of the backline in Ann Arbor, Macdonald’s defense surrendered the eighth-fewest points per game in the country (17.4).

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and after just one year up north, Macdonald returned to his old stomping grounds in Baltimore, this time as the team’s defensive coordinator. It was an astute rehiring in retrospect.

The Ravens emerged as the best defense in the league in 2023. Quarterbacks completed just 60.6 percent of their passes against Baltimore’s harrowing secondary, the fifth-lowest rate in the league. The Ravens also led the league in sacks, spotlighting their status as one of the league’s more well-rounded defensive units.

Can Macdonald reproduce that success in Seattle? Only time can tell. However, given his ability to adjust at multiple levels thus far in his career, it seems he certainly has the stomach for it.

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