NFL Coach Credits Trucking With His Success, But Says He “Hated Every Day Of It”

Owings Mills, Maryland – The defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens comes from a trucking family, and though he left trucking many years ago, Don “Wink” Martindale credits much of his success to the traits he learned from the trucking life.

In an article published on Wednesday by ESPN, Martindale, defensive coordinator for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens says his father and uncle owned a trucking company. He reveals to the worldwide sports leader that he felt he needed to give trucking a try, so he did.

As we know, trucking is not for everyone and Martindale says it definitely wasn’t for him. He is quoted as saying about trucking, “I hated every day of it.”

Right after finishing college, Martindale says he hauled brake parts every day from Dayton, Ohio, to Detroit. It’s only about a 6.5-hour drive round-trip, but Martindale says, “It was the worst ever. I’m getting ready to throw up just thinking about it.”


Martindale only lasted in trucking for about a year before he set off on his coaching career. He began his coaching career in 1986 coaching at his alma mater Defiance College. Over the next few decades he made stops at Western Kentucky, Cincinnati and even at Notre Dame, before getting his first pro job with the Oakland Raiders in 2006.

He spent four years in Oakland coaching linebackers. After a two year stint with the Denver Broncos, also coaching linebackers, he accepted the linebackers coaching position with the Baltimore Ravens under Super Bowl winning coach John Harbaugh.

He spent the next five years coaching linebackers until earlier this year when he was promoted to defensive coordinator. Martindale has not disappointed with his increased responsibilities. In fact, he has shined. His heart is clearly in coaching because he is now in charge of the NFL’s top ranked defense leading the league in both points allowed and yards.

Don “Wink” Martindale’s Baltimore Ravens defense is the top ranked NFL defense in both points allowed and yards allowed this year.

Trucking Made The Difference

Martindale is known by his players to be humorous and charming. The ESPN article reveals Martindale believes he developed these traits by growing up in a trucking family. He says being around the trucking business helped him learn how to win over customers and deal with unions which helps him quite a bit now that he is coaching some of the world’s greatest athletes.

His players talk about him with great admiration, respect and yes, even love. “It’s always been about ‘we’ and never about him,” safety Eric Weddle said. “It was never about what he’s done and his opportunity. It’s always about the players. He believes in us and loves us — like, genuinely loves us.”


A former player, pro-bowl defensive linemen Elvis Dumervil, was coached by Martindale when they were both with the Denver Broncos. Dumervil tells ESPN of Martindale, “We have more of a family-type friendship. I’ve always seen him more as a mentor, and he’s always been honest with me. He has always been a straight-shooter, and I’ve always admired that about him,” Dumervil said.

Martindale long ago moved on from the trucking business, but he says he wouldn’t be enjoying the success he is having today in his coaching career had it not been for the things the trucking way of life taught him.

Click HERE to read the full ESPN article on Martindale.

Images courtesy of the Baltimore Ravens.





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