The former Rochdale and Hull Kingston Rovers coach will take charge of Wales for the first time in the European Nations Cup match against Scotland on October 16.
He succeeds Stuart Wilkinson and will be assisted by another former Wales international, Anthony Farrell, who has guided Halifax to the National League One Grand Final qualifier.
“Martin was our first choice,” said Wales Rugby League chairman Mark Rowley, who won six rugby union caps as a second row forward for Wales from 1996-97.
“He’s very proud of his heritage and he’s well up for the challenge. It’s good to have Anthony as well because he’s making good progress at Halifax.”