COACHES
Jim Caldwell
Head Coach

Biography

COACHING OVERVIEW

  • Hired as head coach for the Detroit Lions January 14, 2014.
  • In six years as an NFL head coach, Caldwell has led his teams to 11+ wins twice, including the 2014 season with Detroit (11) and in 2009 while with Indianapolis (14).
  • Holds a 53-43 (.552) regular-season record in six seasons as an NFL head coach. He captured his third 10-win season in his first year with the Lions by leading the team to an 11-5 finish in 2014.
  • In 16 NFL seasons, Caldwell has worked on coaching staffs that have led teams to 12 winning seasons and only twice finished below .500. Overall, Caldwell’s teams he coached for have compiled a 165-91 regular season record, along with 14 playoff appearances, eight division titles, three conference championships and two Super Bowl wins.
  • Coached in three Super Bowls with Indianapolis (XLI and XLIV) and Baltimore (XLVII) and won two Super Bowl titles (Indianapolis and Baltimore).
  • In first year as head coach for Indianapolis (2009), he won the AFC Championship and led the franchise to Super Bowl XLIV. He became the first NFL coach to win his first 14 games and the fifth rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl.
  • One of four head coaches to produce 24+ regular-season wins and a Super Bowl berth in their first two career seasons as head coach.
  • Led the Colts to two consecutive AFC South division titles in 2009 and 2010.
  • In eight of the 10 seasons Caldwell coached in Indianapolis, the Colts ranked in the Top-10 in total offense eight times and six times in the Top-5.
  • From 2003-09, Caldwell was the Colts quarterbacks coach and was also promoted to assistant head coach and associate head coach during that time. During that span, Indianapolis set NFL records with seven consecutive seasons finishing with 11+ wins (6, Dallas 1976-81) and 12+ victories (4, Dallas, 1992-95).
  • Colts QB Peyton Manning won all four of his NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009) awards under Caldwell’s tutelage.
  • Two of his quarterbacks, Manning (Super Bowl XLI) and Ravens QB Joe Flacco (Super Bowl XLVII) were named Super Bowl MVPs following their teams’ respective championship runs.
  • Led the Ravens offense that helped guide the team to a 5-2 record after taking over as offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season. During that span of seven games, the team averaged 400.6 yards per game. Over the four playoff wins, the Ravens averaged 410.3 yards per game.

With two playoff appearances in his first three years, Jim Caldwell has established himself as one of the most successful head coaches in recent franchise history. His 27 wins are the most ever by a Lions head coach over his first three seasons and his winning percentage of .563 (27-21) is the highest by any Lions head coach in the Super Bowl era.


With a 26-19 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016, Caldwell earned his 50th career regular season win as an NFL head coach. In six seasons, including three in Indianapolis, he has accumulated a record of 53-43 (.552 pct.) in 96 games, and he has led teams to the postseason in four of his six seasons.


Caldwell’s NFL coaching resume’ is highlighted by two Super Bowl titles and three appearances in the NFL’s championship game. His teams also have qualified for the NFL playoffs 13 times and in 2009 he led the Indianapolis Colts to an AFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLV.

On January 14, 2014, the day Caldwell was hired by the Ford Family to lead this proud and historic franchise, his message to the organization was very specific.


“Image and identity. Either you create it, or somebody’s going to create it for you,” Caldwell stated. “So, let me tell you what we’re going to look like. We’re going to be smart. We’re going to be a football team that takes the field that’s not going to shoot itself in the foot.


“We’re going to be a team that is disciplined, focused and understands situational football. It’s going to be drilled and drilled and drilled and not just given lip service. What you should see on the field is

obviously a product of our coaching, our instruction and our demands. 


“We’re going to do things the right way, we’re going to be a physical, hard-nosed, rough football team. We’re going to flat get after you from the word ‘go’ every single snap of the ball on offense, defense and in the kicking game.”


LIONS LEADER

In 2016, his third season at the Lions helm, Caldwell guided Detroit to a 9-7 record and a trip to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons. By earning a playoff berth in 2016, Caldwell joined Buddy Parker (1952, 1953) and Bobby Ross (1997, 1999) as the only coaches in Lions history to lead the team to the playoffs twice in their first three seasons with the club.


Under Caldwell’s leadership, both the team and his players have set new standards of achievement.


In eight of the team’s nine wins this season, the Lions trailed in the fourth quarter and went on to win the game. Detroit set a new NFL record, surpassing the previous total of seven set by the 2009 Indianapolis Colts (also coached by Jim Caldwell), for the most wins in a season after trailing in the fourth quarter.


Under Caldwell’s tutelage, 2016 saw QB Matthew Stafford ascend to new heights in his eighth NFL season. Stafford (4,327) finished the regular season with 4,000 passing yards for the sixth-consecutive season, joining Drew Brees (11), Peyton Manning (6) and Matt Ryan (6) as the only quarterbacks to accomplish this feat. Stafford also set an NFL single-season record for most game-winning drives in the fourth-quarter or overtime with eight this season, as he now has 28 for his career. WR Golden Tate (91), WR Anquan Boldin (67), TE Eric Ebron (61), WR Marvin Jones Jr. (55) and RB Theo Riddick (53) each totaled 50+ receptions in 2016, and the Lions became the fifth team in NFL history, and first in franchise history, to feature five different players with at least 50 catches in a season.


The 2016 Lions defense also saw the emergence of several players. CB Darius Slay tied for a League-high two interceptions inside the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, ultimately leading to wins against Philadelphia (10/9) and Minnesota (11/24). First-year DE Kerry Hyder experienced a breakout year with a team-leading 8.0 sacks, while LB Tahir Whitehead finished with a team-high 132 total tackles (99 solo). On special teams, the duo of P Sam Martin and K Matt Prater continued to produce in Caldwell’s third year as head coach. Martin re-set the franchise record for single-season net punting average with a 44.2 average, which ranks third all-time in NFL history, while Prater, who was named to the 2017 Pro Bowl, connected on a career-high 31 field goals. Prater’s 31 field goals rank as the third-highest single-season total in team history, and his seven 50-yard field goals tied for second-most in the NFL in 2016.


In Caldwell’s first season with the Lions in 2014, Detroit compiled an 11-5 regular season record. Caldwell tied Potsy Clark (1931, Portsmouth Spartans) for the most wins in franchise history by a coach in his first year with the club. He is the third coach in team history to lead the Lions to the playoffs in his first year with Detroit (George Wilson in 1957; Bobby Ross in 1997).

Caldwell is the seventh coach in franchise history (since 1930) to lead the Lions to a winning record (over an entire season) in his first year with the club, and he is one of four coaches (Potsy Clark in 1931, George Wilson in 1962 and Wayne Fontes in 1991) to lead the Lions to 11+ wins in a season.

Defensively, the Lions put together one of the best units in team history in 2014.

Detroit had the NFL's top-ranked rush defense in 2014, yielding just 69.3 yards per game, which not only set a team single-season record but it also ranks as the ninth best single-season run defense in NFL history.


The Lions 2014 defense ranked second overall in the NFL in total defense (300.9 yds/g) and third in points allowed (17.6 pts/g). The team’s No. 2 ranking in total defense was the highest finish for the Lions since 1970, and the 300.9 yards allowed per game were the fewest yards allowed by a Lions defense since 1993.


Caldwell’s emphasis on ball security also paid huge dividends during his first season with the Lions.

By registering a +7 turnover differential (27 takeaways, 20 giveaway) in 2014, the Lions finished with a +19 improvement in turnover margin over the previous season (2013) which was the second-best improvement in the NFL. The Lions had 14 fewer giveaways in Caldwell’s first season compared to the previous season (2013)


Five players earned Pro Bowl honors for their 2014 performances (WR Calvin Johnson, S Glover Quin, QB Matthew Stafford, DT Ndamukong Suh and WR Golden Tate), the most Pro Bowl players in a season for the Lions since 2000. Additionally, it was the first time in team history the Lions had two wide receivers named to the same Pro Bowl. Stafford also became the first Lions quarterback to play in the Pro Bowl since 1972 and Quin became the first Lions Pro Bowl safety since 1992.


Following a 1-7 start to the 2015 season, Caldwell led the Lions to a 7-9 record on the shoulders of the 6-2 surge to finish off the year. Detroit became the fourth team since 1991 to start a season with one or fewer wins in the first eight games (1-7 or 0-8 record) and finish with an NFL-best 6-2 record. It marks the Lions' best second-half finish since the team finished 7-1 in 1995. 


After making a mid-season coaching change by promoting Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator, the team’s offense rebounded, specifically behind Stafford’s passing. Over the last eight games, Stafford set franchise records in passer rating (110.1) and completion percentage (70.0) over any eight-game span. He also finished the season with a 19-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.


The 2015 offense also featured three players who each caught 80+ receptions (WR Golden Tate, 90; WR Calvin Johnson, 88; RB Theo Riddick, 80) for the first time in team history and for only the fifth time in NFL history.


On defense, the Lions were paced by Pro Bowl DE Ezekiel Ansah, whose 14.5 sacks led the NFC and were third-best in the NFL. Ansah finished the season just shy (15.0, DE Robert Porcher in 1999) of the team’s official single-season sacks record.


COACHING OVERVIEW

  • Hired as head coach for the Detroit Lions January 14, 2014.
  • In six years as an NFL head coach, Caldwell has led his teams to 11+ wins twice, including the 2014 season with Detroit (11) and in 2009 while with Indianapolis (14).
  • Holds a 53-43 (.552) regular-season record in six seasons as an NFL head coach. He captured his third 10-win season in his first year with the Lions by leading the team to an 11-5 finish in 2014.
  • In 16 NFL seasons, Caldwell has worked on coaching staffs that have led teams to 12 winning seasons and only twice finished below .500. Overall, Caldwell’s teams he coached for have compiled a 165-91 regular season record, along with 14 playoff appearances, eight division titles, three conference championships and two Super Bowl wins.
  • Coached in three Super Bowls with Indianapolis (XLI and XLIV) and Baltimore (XLVII) and won two Super Bowl titles (Indianapolis and Baltimore).
  • In first year as head coach for Indianapolis (2009), he won the AFC Championship and led the franchise to Super Bowl XLIV. He became the first NFL coach to win his first 14 games and the fifth rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl.
  • One of four head coaches to produce 24+ regular-season wins and a Super Bowl berth in their first two career seasons as head coach.
  • Led the Colts to two consecutive AFC South division titles in 2009 and 2010.
  • In eight of the 10 seasons Caldwell coached in Indianapolis, the Colts ranked in the Top-10 in total offense eight times and six times in the Top-5.
  • From 2003-09, Caldwell was the Colts quarterbacks coach and was also promoted to assistant head coach and associate head coach during that time. During that span, Indianapolis set NFL records with seven consecutive seasons finishing with 11+ wins (6, Dallas 1976-81) and 12+ victories (4, Dallas, 1992-95).
  • Colts QB Peyton Manning won all four of his NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009) awards under Caldwell’s tutelage.
  • Two of his quarterbacks, Manning (Super Bowl XLI) and Ravens QB Joe Flacco (Super Bowl XLVII) were named Super Bowl MVPs following their teams’ respective championship runs.
  • Led the Ravens offense that helped guide the team to a 5-2 record after taking over as offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season. During that span of seven games, the team averaged 400.6 yards per game. Over the four playoff wins, the Ravens averaged 410.3 yards per game.


RAVENS SUPER RUN

On December 10, 2012, less than one year since joining the Ravens as the team’s quarterbacks coach, Caldwell was promoted to offensive coordinator with just three weeks to play in the regular season. Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh entrusted Caldwell to lead the team’s offensive unit in its run to make the playoffs. What resulted from this decision changed the direction of the Ravens and put them on path to claim an NFL title by winning Super Bowl XLVII.


After Caldwell took over the team’s offense, the Ravens would win the AFC North and go on to win the Super Bowl. In the team’s final seven games, including four in the postseason, the Ravens averaged 400.6 yards per game and 27.3 points per game, including 410.3 yards per game and 31.0 points per game in the playoffs. The Ravens’ 31.0 points/game in the postseason is the highest playoff scoring average in NFL history by a Super Bowl team who advanced from the Wild Card round and played four playoff games.


During that span, QB Joe Flacco threw 15 touchdowns with just one interception, along with 1,737 passing yards. In the playoffs, Flacco threw 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions and accumulated a 117.2 passer rating. He joined Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana as the only passers in NFL history to throw 11+ touchdowns and 0 interceptions during an NFL postseason.


Caldwell served as the Ravens offensive coordinator in 2013 before arriving in Detroit.

INDY’S HORSEPOWER

In 10 seasons in Indianapolis (2002-11), including three as the franchise’s head coach (2009-11), Caldwell and the Colts achieved almost unparalleled success. In each of the first nine seasons, the Colts had a record-setting nine-consecutive playoff appearances that included six AFC South titles, two Super Bowl berths (XLI and XLIV) and one Super Bowl championship (XLI).


In 2009, Caldwell was named the Colts’ head coach, a position he held for the next three seasons. In his first two seasons, he directed the Colts to 14-2 and 10-6 regular-season records, winning consecutive AFC South titles, an AFC Championship and earning a berth in Super Bowl XLIV. He is one of just four head coaches in NFL history to win 24+ games and earn a berth in the Super Bowl in the coach’s first two seasons as a head coach.


During his first season as the Colts head coach, the team was 14-2. He became the NFL’s only rookie head coach to win his first 14 games in a season and second to win 14 games in his rookie season as coach. He also became the fifth rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl.

During his tenure with the Colts, Caldwell worked closely with All-Pro QB Peyton Manning and the team’s quarterbacks. His leadership helped guide the Colts offense to eight Top-10 rankings in total offense during his 10 seasons with Indianapolis, and the team was a Top-5 offense six different times.


In Caldwell’s first two seasons as head coach (2009-10), Manning recorded the highest (4,700 yards in 2010) and third-highest (4,500 yards in 2009) passing totals in team history. In both seasons, he threw for 33 touchdowns which ranked as the second and third-highest tallies in Colts history.


From 2002-10, the Colts won 109 games as Manning averaged a league-best 266.7 yards per game and threw for the most touchdowns (288) during that span. His completion percentage (66.7) and passer rating (99.3) were also the best in the NFL during those nine seasons. All four NFL MVP honors earned by Manning occurred while working with Caldwell.


Caldwell was the Colts quarterbacks coach for his first three seasons (2002-04) before earning the additional title of assistant head coach prior to the 2005 season. He was elevated to associate head coach with the club in 2008.


PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE

Caldwell’s NFL coaching roots date back to 2001 when he worked as a quarterbacks coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After acquiring QB Brad Johnson via free agency, Caldwell helped the veteran quarterback break then-team records for passing yards (3,046), completions (340) and attempts (540) as the team finished 9-7 and earned an NFC Wild Card berth.


Before making the jump to the NFL, Caldwell spent seven seasons as the head coach at Wake Forest University where the Demon Deacons’ offense ranked in the NCAA’s Top-25 four times. In 1999, he led the team to its first winning season and bowl appearance (Aloha Bowl) since 1992. In 1995, the Wake Forest offense was ranked 10th in the nation and QB Rusty LaRue established seven NCAA passing records.


From 1986-92, Caldwell was an assistant at Penn State where he coached the wide receivers during the team’s NCAA Championship season in 1986; quarterbacks and wide receivers from 1987-90 and passing coordinator in 1991-92. With the Nittany Lions, Caldwell tutored QB Kerry Collins early in his college career. Collins would end his career at Penn State winning the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top college quarterback and the Maxwell Award as the nation's most outstanding player.


Caldwell’s previous coaching stints include assistant positions at Louisville (1985), Colorado (1981-83), Northwestern (1981) and Southern Illinois (1978-80). He launched his coaching career in 1977 as a graduate assistant for the Iowa Hawkeyes football program.


During his college coaching career, Caldwell coached in six bowl games and won a national championship with Penn State in 1986. He also worked for several legendary college coaches who all won national titles during their careers, including Joe Paterno (Penn State), Howard Schnellenberger (Louisville), Bill McCartney (Colorado) and Rey Dempsey (Southern Illinois).

COLLEGE PLAYING CAREER

Caldwell was a four-year starter at defensive back (1973-76) for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Iowa.

JIM AND CHERYL CALDWELL FOUNDATION AND COMMUNITY ACTIVISM

In 2009, Caldwell and his wife, Cheryl, launched The Jim and Cheryl Caldwell Foundation. The Foundation is committed to the educational empowerment of children through digital technology and "Preparing young minds for advancement in the 21st Century."


To achieve this, the Caldwells create and provide community centers with integrated digital technology that serves as a catalyst to impact, change and enrich a child's learning proficiency.


In September 2014, The Jim and Cheryl Caldwell Foundation, in collaboration with the Detroit Lions, opened “The Project Phoenix Learning Center,” a new 21st Century computer lab and learning center at the Detroit Lions Academy. The learning center includes new computers with Promethean ActivBoards, ActivSlate, ActivExpressions, a network printer, internet accessibility and specialized interactive instructional software.


Caldwell returned to his hometown of Beloit, Wisc., in May 2016 where he and Cheryl opened their eighth Project Phoenix Learning Center. That learning center now impacts youth at the E.J. Dalton Boys and Girls Club.


Caldwell also supports the Midnight Golf Program that teaches under-served young adults the game of golf and important life skills, including financial literacy, college preparation and community activism.


Caldwell has served as honorary chairman for the Charlie Sanders Foundation “Have A Heart Save A Life” Celebrity Golf Outing, which provides support to Student Healthy Heart Check programs provided by Beaumont Hospital and the Henry Ford Health System.


During his first-year as the Lions head coach, Caldwell was honored by the Detroit Historical Society’s Black Historic Sites Committee after becoming the Lions’ first African American head coach.


Caldwell is a two-time recipient (2009, 2010) of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Salute to Excellence Award.

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

Born January 16, 1955 in Beloit, Wisc., Caldwell graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 1973 after earning nine varsity letters in three sports (football, basketball and track) and membership into the National Honor Society. As a senior, he helped lead his football team to an undefeated season and the basketball team to a state championship.


Caldwell was inducted in the high school’s Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2013.


In May 2016, the Beloit (Wisc.) School District dedicated the James Caldwell Gymnasium at the newly-opened Fran Fruzen Intermediate School in his honor.


He and his wife, Cheryl, have four children: Jimmy, Jermaine, Jared and Natalie.

CALDWELL’S HEAD COACHING RECORD

Regular Season

Year Team G W L T Pct Result

2009 Ind 16 14 2 0 .875 1st AFC South

2010 Ind 16 10 6 0 .625 1st AFC South

2011 Ind 16 2 14 0 .125 4th AFC South

2014 Det 16 11 5 0 .688 2nd NFC North

2015 Det 16 7 9 0 .438 3rd NFC North

2016 Det 16 9 7 0 .563 2nd NFC North

Totals 80 44 36 0 .550

Postseason

Year Team G W L T Pct Playoff Berth

2009 Ind 3 2 1 0 .667 Super Bowl XLIV

2010 Ind 1 0 1 0 .000 AFC Wild Card

2014 Det 1 0 1 0 .000 NFC Wild Card

2016 Det 1 0 1 0 .000 NFC Wild Card

Totals 5 2 3 0 .400

Overall G W L T Pct

Regular Season 96 53 43 0 .552

Postseason 6 2 4 0 .333

Totals 102 55 47 0 .539

CALDWELL’S COACHING BACKGROUND

Detroit Lions 2014-

Head Coach 2014-

Baltimore Ravens 2012-13

Offensive Coordinator 2013

Quarterbacks/Offensive Coordinator 2012

Indianapolis Colts 2002-11

Head Coach 2009-11

Associate Head Coach 2008

Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks 2006-07

Quarterbacks 2002-05

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2001

Quarterbacks 2001

Wake Forest University 1993-2000

Head Coach 1993-2000

Penn State University 1986-92

Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks 1988-92

Quarterbacks 1987

Wide Receivers 1986

University of Louisville 1985

Assistant Coach 1985

University of Colorado 1982-84

Assistant Coach 1982-84

Northwestern University 1981

Assistant Coach 1981

Southern Illinois University 1978-80

Assistant Coach 1978-80

University of Iowa 1977

Graduate Assistant 1977

Recent Videos

  • Caldwell on using the bye week to think about corrections

    Posted Oct 16, 2017

    Head coach Jim Caldwell says that although the Lions lost to the Saints, the bye week will be an opportunity for them to focus on things to work on because every mistake on Sunday was correctable.

  • Caldwell on playing tough

    Posted Oct 15, 2017

    Head coach Jim Caldwell says he's proud the Lions played tough despite the injuries that came up in the Saints game.

  • Caldwell on the Saints matchup

    Posted Oct 13, 2017

    Head coach Jim Caldwell talks about how the Saints are always a good, competitive matchup for the Lions.

  • Caldwell on Stafford's toughness

    Posted Oct 12, 2017

    Head coach Jim Caldwell talks about how he remembers watching QB Matthew Stafford battle through obstacles from the day he first started coaching with the Lions and says it's one of his best character traits.

  • Caldwell on pass protection

    Posted Oct 11, 2017

    Head coach Jim Caldwell talks about improving the pass protection for Matthew Stafford and also about the defensive line acquisitions.

Photos