ALLEN PARK, Mich. (97.1 THE TICKET/AP) – The Detroit Lions have hired Jim Caldwell as their new coach and will introduce him at a news conference Wednesday.
But before that new hire was completed the Lions had a couple of other people in mind, including, according to the Detroit Free Press, asking Tony Dungy if he was interested in the job.
Dungy obviously declined but did speak the Lions organization about the hiring strategy of the Pittsburgh Steelers chairman:
“One time we had a phone conversation and we just talked about what they were looking for,” Dungy said. “I really talked more to Mr. Ford about (Pittsburgh Steelers chairman) Dan Rooney and the way Dan went about his search. Dan’s hired three coaches in 40-some years. They haven’t been big-name guys when they’ve been hired, but they fit the profile of what he was looking for, and that’s all I told Bill.” Dungy told the Free Press.
Caldwell takes over for Jim Schwartz, who was let go after a second-half collapse led to a 7-9 season.
Caldwell spent this season as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator and was head coach of the Colts from 2009-11, leading Indianapolis to the Super Bowl in his first season but losing his job following a 2-14 campaign that left him 26-22.