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A closer look at Joe Lombardi's coaching career

A rundown of new Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's coaching history.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Shortly after the Detroit Lions hired Jim Caldwell as their head coach, they hired Teryl Austin as their defensive coordinator. Their offensive coordinator position took a bit longer to fill, though. It wasn't until Tuesday that the Lions hired New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi to serve as their offensive coordinator, bringing that particular search to an end with a name that came a bit out of left field.

Lombardi, who is from Seattle and played football (he was a tight end) and lacrosse at Air Force, is the grandson of Vince Lombardi. His wife, Molly, is actually from Bay City, so Lombardi already had some ties to the state of Michigan before being hired by the Lions. Now Molly is set to return to her home state with Joe and their six kids.

After graduating from Air Force in 1994, Lombardi took his first coaching job at Dayton. He was Dayton's defensive line coach from 1996-98, and he later spent a year at Virginia Military Institute and a year at Bucknell. At VMI, he coached tight ends and offensive tackles, and he was the defensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at Bucknell.

Lombardi had another one-year stop in 2001 when he became an assistant for the XFL's New York/New Jersey Hitmen. He coached running backs and tight ends, but he was out of work with the XFL folding after only one season. This led to him landing at Mercyhurst, a Division II school, as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2002-05.

Lombardi made the jump to the NFL in 2006 as a defensive assistant for the Atlanta Falcons. With Falcons head coach Jim Mora being fired after the 2006 season, Lombardi was once again on the search for a new gig, and he ended up being hired by the New Orleans Saints as an offensive assistant. He spent two years in that role before being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2009. The Saints won the Super Bowl that season by beating Caldwell's Indianapolis Colts, meaning Lombardi got a chance to hoist the trophy that was named after his grandfather.

Lombardi continued to serve as the Saints' quarterbacks coach through the 2013 season, and he was hired to be the Lions' offensive coordinator on Tuesday. It's unclear at this time if Lombardi will actually call the plays for the Lions or if that will be Caldwell's responsibility, but clearly Lombardi met Caldwell's profile of someone who will be an innovative offensive coordinator.

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