Lions hire Jim Caldwell as head coach

Andy Lyons

The Detroit Lions have decided to hire Jim Caldwell as their new head coach.

It took a bit longer than expected, but the Detroit Lions have finally hired a new head coach. Specifically, Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell has been hired as the 26th head coach in Lions history, according to Adam Schefter. The deal was completed on Tuesday, just one day after the Lions lost out on Ken Whisenhunt to the Tennessee Titans.

Caldwell joins the Lions after spending the last two seasons with the Ravens. He joined the Ravens as their quarterbacks coach in 2012, and he was later promoted to offensive coordinator just in time for Baltimore's run to a Super Bowl title. He was the full-time offensive coordinator in 2013, but the results weren't nearly as good with Baltimore struggling on offense throughout the season.

Before joining the Ravens, Caldwell spent a decade with the Indianapolis Colts. He was Indy's quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach from 2002-08, and he was promoted to head coach in 2009 following the retirement of Tony Dungy. He led the Colts to a 14-2 record and a loss in Super Bowl XLIV in his first season, and Indy went 10-6 and was knocked out in the wild-card round of the playoffs a year later. In his third year at the helm, an injury kept Peyton Manning out for the entire 2011 season, and the Colts responded by going 2-14, which led to Caldwell's firing.

In total, Caldwell compiled a 26-22 regular-season record and a 2-2 record in the playoffs as head coach of the Colts. This was a big improvement compared to his stint as head coach of Wake Forest from 1993-2000. He went 26-63 in eight seasons and led Wake Forest to a winning record only once. This came after he served as an assistant at Iowa, Southern Illinois, Northwestern, Colorado, Louisville and Penn State. His first NFL experience came in 2001 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach, and he left for Indy with Dungy after only one season.

With Caldwell now in place as head coach, the Lions can turn their attention to filling out the rest of their coaching staff. They can also move beyond the whole Whisenhunt situation, which was quite embarrassing for them in all honesty. They had a plane ready to fly to San Diego to pick up Whisenhunt, but he opted to take the Titans' head coaching job instead. This led to the Lions turning their attention to Caldwell, and now he is their new head coach.

UPDATE: The hire is now official.

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