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The Detroit Lions have hired Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell to be their new head coach, ESPN reported Tuesday.
The move comes just one day after the reported frontrunner, Ken Whisenhunt, agreed to become the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. With Whisenhunt off the table, Caldwell emerged as the favorite from a candidate pool that included former Titans coach Mike Munchak and Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak
Caldwell spent the past two seasons on the Ravens coaching staff, being promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator down the stretch of the 2012 season en route to a Super Bowl victory. Prior to that, he took over as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after Tony Dungy retired at the end of the 2008 season. He was fired following the 2011 season.
Caldwell spent eight seasons on Dungy’s staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Colts, and received an endorsement from both Dungy and Peyton Manning to be the next coach of the Lions. He also served under Joe Paterno at Penn State before moving to the professional ranks.
Following a 7-9 campaign, one in which Detroit went 1-6 down the stretch and lost control of the NFC North, the team fired head coach Jim Schwartz. The Lions gig was considered one of the most coveted head-coaching vacancies because it was the only opening in which the team already had a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford and a dynamic playmaker in Calvin Johnson. The Lions also own the ninth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Along with Lovie Smith, another former Dungy assistant who was hired by the Bucs, Caldwell is the second minority hire this year.
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