DETROIT (AP) — Jim Caldwell got a ringing endorsement from one of his mentors when Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was doing his homework.
The Lions hired Caldwell on Tuesday to replace fired coach Jim Schwartz, ending a search that included a phone conversation between Mayhew and 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 recalled in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I told Martin that Jim Caldwell is exactly what you’re looking for. 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 wanted to replace Schwartz with someone with experience as a head coach, ideally with a track record of tutoring quarterbacks.
Whisenhunt says Titans best fit for him as coach
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ken Whisenhunt is at a point in his NFL career where chemistry is really important to him, feeling comfortable with an organization.
He said Tuesday that’s a big reason why he is now the new coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Whisenhunt said he hit it off quickly with Ruston Webster when interviewing for the job Friday night. The coach also had interest from Detroit and Cleveland. The Titans also met with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer on Monday in Houston before hiring Whisenhunt.
The Titans introduced Whisenhunt on Tuesday as their 17th head coach and only their third different coach since moving to Tennessee in 1997. Webster called it a new day toward creating a new culture.
“I felt great about Ruston, about that working relationship, and I have tremendous confidence in Mr. (Tommy) Smith and he wants to win,” Whisenhunt said of the Titans’ president and chief executive officer. “And I’m excited about that.”
Webster said it was a fast and furious process picking a new coach after parting with Mike Munchak on Jan. 4.
The general manager believes Whisenhunt is an excellent fit for the Titans and to create a new culture around the organization. Tennessee is coming off a 7-9 record and is 36-44 over the past five seasons since the Titans’ last playoff appearance.
ESPN.com reported the Titans offered Whisenhunt $1 million more a year than the Detroit Lions. Neither Whisenhunt, Webster nor Smith would comment when asked how long the new coach’s contract is.