Martin succeeds Don Treadwell, who was fired after the RedHawks lost their first five games. Treadwell, a Miami graduate, went 8-21 at his alma mater.
The RedHawks lost to Ball State 55-14 on Friday, finishing the season 0-12 under offensive coordinator Mike Bath, the interim coach. It was the first time since 1988 that they failed to win a game and only the fourth time since 1900. They are 8-28 over the past three seasons and have won two or fewer games four times in the past eight years.
Martin, 45, received a five-year contract to try to restore Miami's program. The deal includes base salaries of $450,000 per year plus bonuses, athletic director David Sayler said.
"Miami football tradition is coming back to where it has been for many, many years," Martin said. "I was getting my hair cut the other day sitting in the same seat that [former coach] Ara Parseghian sat in the day before. They said he was saying, '[Miami's] got to get this right this time.' I was so excited. He was talking about the job I was about to get."
Sayler wanted someone with head-coaching experience at some level and experience at Division I in some capacity.
"It felt perfect from the time I met Chuck for the first time," Sayler said. "We felt good about his emphasis on the values that we care about. He's got experience as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He's coached in a national championship game in seven of his last 13 seasons.
"When you look at his résumé, he has never failed. He's played or coached on 10 undefeated teams, and teams he's coached are 158-28. That's a pretty strong number. That's something that caught our attention."
Martin has been Notre Dame's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two seasons after working with the secondary the previous two years. He was influential in the development of quarterback Everett Golson, who helped lead the Fighting Irish to last season's BCS title game.
Martin was head coach at Grand Valley State for six seasons, succeeding current Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly. He led Grand Valley State to two NCAA Division II championships and won more than 91 percent of his games.
Joe Schad of ESPN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.