Ed Donatell

Defensive Backs

College: Glenville State University

Hometown: Stow, OH


Ed Donatell is in his fourth season as the Bears defensive backs coach after being hired by the team on January 21, 2015. He has 39 years coaching experience, including 27 in the NFL.

In 2017, Donatell's secondary ranked seventh in the league in fewest net passing yards allowed while the defense finished 11th in fewest yards per play (5.1). Under Donatell's tutelage, rookie Eddie Jackson finished the season tied for the team lead in interceptions (2), returning one for a touchdown and led the team in fumble recoveries (3), returning one for a score. Additionally, veteran cornerback Kyle Fuller had a breakout season, ranking second in the NFL in passes defensed (22) and ninth in terms of total tackles among cornerbacks (68). Collectively, the secondary helped aid a Bears defense which allowed the fourth-fewest plays of 25+ yards in the NFL (22), tied-seventh in sacks (42) and finished tied-ninth in interception return yards (253).      

Prior to joining the Bears, Donatell spent four seasons (2011-14) as the secondary coach for the San Francisco 49ers. During that time, Donatell's secondary was a part of a 49ers defense that ranked second in the NFL in scoring defense (17.4 points per game) and opponent passer rating (76.8), tied for second in interceptions (78), third in total defense (310.2 yards per game) and sixth in pass defense (218.2 ypg).

Four players from San Francisco's secondary were named to a total of six Pro Bowls under Donatell's guidance: S Dashon Goldson (2011-12), CB Carlos Rogers (2011), S Eric Reid (2013) and S Donte Whitner (2011-12). In addition, Goldson, earned first-team All-Pro honors by the Associated Press in 2012 and Rogers was named a second-team All-Pro by the AP in 2011.

Prior to his time in San Francisco, Donatell was the secondary coach of the Denver Broncos for two seasons (2009-10), his second coaching stint with the club. During his time in Denver, the Broncos were ninth in the NFL in passing defense allowing 211.3 yards per game.

Donatell was the defensive coordinator at the University of Washington in 2008 and served as a special assistant for the New York Jets in 2007.

From 2000-06, Donatell served as an NFL defensive coordinator for two teams: Green Bay (2000-03) and Atlanta (2004-06). During his three seasons in Atlanta, the Falcons defense was tied for seventh in the NFL with 122 sacks and eighth in third-down defense (217-of-599, 36.2 percent). In 2004 the Falcons paced the league with 48 sacks, the first time leading the NFL in that category, while advancing to the NFC Championship game. In 2005, the Falcons led the NFL in third-down defense (58-of-192, 30.2 percent). In 2006, they ranked sixth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.75) and ninth in rushing defense (103.6 ypg).

During Donatell's four seasons as Green Bay's defensive coordinator, the Packers were third in the NFL with 144 takeaways, including pacing the league with 116 takeaways from 2001 to 2003. In 2002, the Packers defense set a Green Bay record with 52 sacks (which still stands) and led the NFL with 45 takeaways, sixth-most in franchise history.

In Donatell's first stint with the Broncos he held the role of defensive backs coach from 1995-99. During that time, the Broncos were seventh in the NFL in passing defense (199.6 ypg) and yards per attempts (6.47). Denver won back-to-back Super Bowl titles during that time (XXXII following the 1997 season and XXXIII following the 1998 season). The Broncos ranked in the top 10 in pass defense in four of his five seasons overseeing the defensive backs (ninth in 1995, tenth in 1996, fifth in 1997 and eighth in 1999).

Donatell got his NFL coaching start as the defensive backs coach with the New York Jets from 1990-94.

From 1979-89, Donatell operated in the collegiate coaching ranks, holding the role of defensive backs coach with Cal State Fullerton (1989), the University of Idaho (1986-88) and the University of Pacific (1983-85) after working as a graduate assistant at the University of Washington (1981-82) and Kent State (1979-80).

An all-conference defensive back, team captain and four-year letter winner at Glenville State (W.Va.) University, Donatell received a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1979. He went on to earn a master's degree in administration from Kent State in 1981.

A native of Stow, Ohio, Donatell and his wife Shari, have three children, Brenna, Tommy and Stevie.