OWINGS MILLS -- John Harbaugh reached back into his connections, hiring former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale as the Baltimore Ravens' new linebackers coach.

Martindale's coaching roots with Harbaugh includes coaching the linebackers and special teams at Western Kentucky for Harbaugh's father, Jack Harbaugh, when the Hilltoppers won the Division I-AA national championship.

And John Harbaugh and Martindale were on the same University of Cincinnati staff when Martindale coached former Ravens linebacker Brad Jackson.

Martindale, 49, replaces Dean Pees, who was promoted last week to defensive coordinator to fill the vacancy created when Chuck Pagano became the Indianapolis Colts' head coach.

"Don brings extensive pro and college experience to the Ravens, and he has been a defensive coordinator at both levels," Harbaugh said. "He's known for his hard work, intelligence and thorough teaching, and his players have always responded well to his coaching. He'll earn the respect of our players. I'm confident about that."

Martindale was recruited by the Ravens three years ago when he was the Oakland Raiders' linebackers coach and interviewed for the Raiders' head coaching job.

He has previous collegiate experience at Notre Dame, Western Illinois and Defiance College.

"I am excited to be part of a great team and great organization like the Ravens," Martindale said. "When I got the call, it was a no-brainer. There has always been a great defense here, led by tremendously talented players and coaches, and I am thrilled to be a part of a proven system."

Reach staff writer Aaron Wilson at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.