Lions New Coach Arrives

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Jim Schwartz faces the biggest challenge among the 32 NFL teams next season: turning around a team that didn't win a single game.

Bring it on, says the Detroit Lions' new coach.

"There's no better feeling in football than turning a situation around. That's what drives me here," the 42-year-old former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator said during his introductory news conference Friday at Ford Field.

The Lions badly want the one-time Georgetown University economics major to come up with a formula to fix a franchise coming off an 0-16 season, an eight-season stretch that has been the worst in the league since World War II and a run of more than 50 years with only one playoff win.

While Detroit's football future is far from certain, Schwartz told reporters they can count on at least one thing.

"We'll put a team on the field that you'll be proud of," he said a day after agreeing to a four-year contract.

The son of a police officer and one of nine kids, Schwartz said he was a blue-collar guy who will fit in well with the culture of Detroit.

"This is what I am," he said, joking that he was wearing one of the two suits he owns.

Friday's coming-out party for Schwartz was the culmination of years of hard work in the NFL.

He began as a scout in Cleveland, moving on as an assistant in Baltimore, then became one of the league's best defensive coordinators in Tennessee.

Schwartz singled out New England coach Bill Belichick and Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher as mentors. He replaces Rod Marinelli, who was fired two weeks ago after he went 10-38 in three seasons, dropping Detroit to 31-97 since 2001 when former team president Matt Millen took over a mediocre franchise and turned it into a laughingstock.

The Chicago Cardinals, who won just 23 percent of their games from 1936-43, are the last team to perform as poorly as Detroit has over an eight-season stretch.


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