It's official! Jim Caldwell will replace the fired coach Jim Schwartz as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions.
"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 William Clay Ford said in a statement. "We believe Jim is the right man to lead our team and deliver a championship to our fans."
"I also want to commend Tom (Lewand) and Martin (Mayhew) on the thoroughness of the coaching search,” Ford continued. “We had a very specific plan and profile for our next head coach, and I am convinced that we found that man in Jim Caldwell."
Endorsing Caldwell as the new head coach was Tony Dungy. "Martin called me and said we're looking for a leader who can help turn our locker room into a winning one and to help us get the most out of our investment in Matthew Stafford," Dungy revealed in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
"I told Martin that Jim Caldwell is exactly what you're looking for," he continued. "He'll lead by making people accountable and by being a role model on and off the field. And with his attention to detail and history of developing quarterbacks, Stafford is going to flourish just like Peyton Manning did with us in Indianapolis."
— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) January 15, 2014
Caldwell will serve as the first black coach to coach the Lions. John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which promotes diversity in the hiring of NFL coaches, was extremely supportive of the move.
"To be openly frank, we felt that he should be the guy," Wooten said. "We really wanted him in that particular team. Thought it was an excellent fit. Our overall reaction was probably very similar to what we felt when President (Barack) Obama was elected six years ago, when the Virginia vote came in," he continued. "That's how we felt. We felt that strongly about it. Great move for us."
— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) January 14, 2014
Image via Detroitlions.com