By Erika Greco
The Detroit Lions have selected Jim Caldwell as the new head coach in hopes of a successful 2014-2015 season. The Lions not only wanted someone with experience as a head coach but also someone who had experience on offense, preferably with quarterbacks. Caldwell fit the description and demonstrated additional success with past seasons that instilled hope for the city of Detroit.
“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,” Lions owner and chairman William Clay Ford said in a press release. “We believe Jim is the right man to lead our team and deliver a championship to our fans.”
Caldwell was the first to interview for the position alongside former Texans coach Gary Kubiak, former Titans coach Mike Munchak and former Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt was rumored to be a Lions top choice, but he opted for a job offered by the Titans.
Caldwell comes with head coaching experience with two prior teams: Wake Forest University from 1993 to 2000, and the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011. He began his NFL career as Tony Dungy’s successor with the Colts. He was originally the assistant head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001. In 2002, he moved with Dungy to the Colts as a quarterbacks/assistant head coach and helped to lead the Colts to win in Super Bowl XLI.
On January 12, 2009, Dungy announced his retirement, which put Assistant Head Coach Caldwell in the head coaching position. His career sky-rocketed as he finished with a 14-2 record, one of the best debut seasons for a head coach in NFL history.
In 2010, Caldwell became the fifth rookie head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl with a 30–17 victory over the New York Jets. He holds the NFL record for the best start by a rookie head coach, starting his career with 14 wins in the 2009-2010 season.
Caldwell’s rookie season came to a close with a devastating loss of 31-17 to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. His was fired from the Colts after star-quarterback Peyton Manning missed the entire season due to injury, causing their record to suffer tremendously (2-14).
Shortly after dismissal from the Colts, the Baltimore Ravens picked Caldwell up as quarterbacks coach. Before long he was named the offensive coordinator, and the job was made permanent for the 2013 season by head coach John Harbaugh, after the team defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship.
In 2013, Caldwell helped lead the Ravens’ offense to a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Taking the head coaching job for the Lions meant Caldwell’s resignation from his position with the Ravens. “Jim Caldwell, you’re going to find out, is a real strong leader. He’s a high-character guy. I know the players are going to respect him, they’re going to play hard for him. I think they’re going to want to respond to the way he leads,” explained Harbaugh in a press release following Caldwell’s resignation.
Caldwell has more career playoff wins (two) than the Lions organization has over the last 55 years combined. His past in the NFL shows incredible potential and seems to be the asset that the Lions desperately need to come out victorious in the coming 2014 season.