By Ian Shalapata
(DETROIT, MI) – It has been two weeks since the Detroit Lions let go head coach Jim Schwartz. They have now replaced him, but their choice of coaches has raised more eyebrows than the firing of Schwartz. Originally reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and later confirmed by the Lions, Detroit has hired Jim Caldwell as the 23rd head coach in franchise history, and 6th since 2000.
Caldwell joins the Lions directly from the Baltimore Ravens where he held an assistant coaches position over the past two seasons. Before that, Caldwell was head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011. During his tenure with the Colts, Caldwell was 26-22 including a trip to the Super Bowl in his first year as a replacement for Tony Dungy. But the team’s fortunes dropped until Caldwell was let go after a 2-14 record in 2011.
Highlights of Caldwell’s coaching career include stints in college football with a number of schools. He was with Wake Forest from 1993 to 2000 and amassed a record of 26-63. He was also an assistant coach with Iowa, Southern Illinois, Northwestern, Colorado, Louisville and Penn State.
Caldwell has also spent time coaching with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In a press release, Lions’ owner, William Clay Ford echoed Tom Lewand’s statement when Detroit first hired Jim Schwartz in 2006.
“On behalf on my entire family, I want to express how thrilled we are with the appointment of Jim Caldwell as our new head coach,” said Ford. “We believe Jim is the right man to lead our team and deliver a championship to our fans.”
“I also want to commend (team president) Tom Lewand and (general manager) Martin Mayhew on the thoroughness of the coaching search,” Ford continued. “We had a very specific plan and profile for our next head coach, and I am convinced that we found that man in Jim Caldwell.”
Detroit had been known to be courting San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt for the head coaching position. However, he decided to accept the offer of the head coaching position with the Tennessee Titans, earlier this week.