TWENTYMAN: Lions won't leave any stone unturned in search for new coach

Posted Jan 2, 2014

Names beginning to emerge in Lions search for a new head coach

The Detroit Lions won't leave any stone unturned in their search for new head coach.

Lions team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew have a very defined profile of the characteristics they want their next head coach to possess and plan to search near and far for him.

As soon as the team relieved Jim Schwartz of his coaching duties on Monday, the search was on.

"This is a very attractive opportunity," Lewand said Monday. "I can verify that by the number of calls we have already gotten since the announcement was made (of Schwartz's firing).

"We will go through the process. I think going through a thorough process is extremely important. That doesn't necessarily mean that has to be a long process, but it has to be a thorough process. We will go through a process of interviews and research to make sure that we find the best fit for the Detroit Lions."

Jim CaldwellAP Images

Through the early part of that process some names have already emerged as candidates the Lions would like to either know more about or potentially interview. Some of those interviews could take place in Allen Park this week.

That does not include a number of assistant coaches currently on wild card playoff teams, who can't interview until after this weekend's games. San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt could be among those names if he's granted permission by the Chargers to do so.

A couple other names that could be among the list is Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Assistants with playoff teams who have secured a first-round bye can interview only up until the conclusion of the wild card games.

Other names that have surfaced in the search is Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell and former Chicago head coach Lovie Smith. Smith, however, agreed to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday.

Caldwell, 58, took over for Tony Dungy in Indianapolis when he stepped down after the 2008 season. Before he took over the top spot, Caldwell worked closely with Peyton Manning as his quarterbacks coach.

Caldwell guided the Colts to a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl appearance in his first year as head coach. He went 10-6 the following year and then 2-14 in 2011, when Manning missed the season with a neck injury. He was let go after that season.

There will be at least a half dozen more names that surface over the coming days as both Lewand and Mayhew continue to search for the right man to take this roster over the hump.

"We will work exhaustively until we have a slate of candidates to bring in and narrow that down to ultimately the one who fits us," Lewand said. "There was another question about what the right profile is and the characteristics, it has to be the right coach for the Detroit Lions at this point in time with our roster the way it is.

"It's the right coach that fits our organization and that can help make our organization better and get it to those goals that our ownership has for us.”