Detroit Lions: Coaching staff update

Detroit Lions

Teryl Austin (Photo credit: Scott Boehm/AP)

Just about two weeks ago, the Detroit Lions were still without a head coach. The fans’ leading candidate just announced that he would be choosing the head coaching gig for the Tennessee Titans instead of (hopefully) leading Matthew Stafford and the rest of the Lions to the promise land.

On January 14th the Lions announced that Jim Caldwell, a man who appeared to be the team’s second option, would be the next head coach. Many fans who were initially critical of the hiring, myself included, were won over by the exceptional passion and character that Caldwell displayed during his introductory press conference.

Caldwell’s first step as head coach was to interview the remaining coaches. As this process was completed, Detroit was now in search for nine new assistants, including both coordinator positions.

With the recent additions of Robert Prince (wide receivers) and Alan Williams (secondary), the Lions are now just two pieces away from finalizing their coaching staff puzzle; quarterbacks coach, a crucial position to fulfill, and assistant linebackers coach. Here is how the 2014 coaching staff shapes up:


Offensive Coordinator – Joe Lombardi

Grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, Joe has been a member of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff since 2007. He initially spent two seasons as an offensive assistant before becoming the quarterbacks coach in 2009, a position he has held and succeeded at for the past five seasons.

Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends – Ron Prince

For the 2013 season, Prince served as the University of Rutgers offensive coordinator. He has spent time in the NFL as an offensive line assistant for the Indianapolis Colts (2010-11, under Caldwell) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2012).

Assistant Offensive Line – Bobby Johnson

Johnson was a member of the Lions staff under Jim Schwartz. He was previously the tight ends coach but Caldwell moved him to the offensive line.

Wide Receivers – Robert Prince

Sandwiched between two coaching stints at the collegiate level, Prince served as an NFL assistant for six seasons. He previously worked for the Atlanta Falcons (2004-06) as an assistant coaching running backs and tight ends. Prince then spent two seasons working as a wide receivers assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2007-08) before taking on the role of receivers coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009. He was most recently the offensive coordinator for Boise State.

Running Backs/Run Game Coordinator – Curtis Modkins

Modkins will continue the role he had under the previous regime.

Quality Control – Terry Heffernan

Heffernan, who was previously the Lions offensive line assistant, takes over for Kyle Valero.

Offensive Line – Jeremiah Washburn

Washburn coached the same position last season and was retained by Caldwell after hearing the Lions players speak very highly of him.


Defensive Coordinator – Teryl Austin

Austin comes over with Caldwell from the Baltimore Ravens. He has spent the last three seasons as the Ravens secondary coach.

Linebackers – Bill Sheridan

Sheridan was the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the past two seasons. He has been coaching the defensive side of the football in the NFL since 2005.

Defensive Line – Kris Kocurek

Kocurek is another member of the previous coaching staff to retain his position.

Assistant Defensive Line/Pass Rush Specialist – Jim Washburn

Washburn spent last season at the same position, under Kocurek.

Secondary – Alan Williams

Williams has spent the last two seasons as the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator. He coached the secondary for the Colts from 2002-11.

Special Teams

Special Teams Coordinator – John Bonamego

Bonamego kept his position despite the coaching change. Rookie punter Sam Martin had a very successful season under his watch. The Lions return game was also very successful once Jeremy Ross was moved to that position.

Quality Control/Special Teams – Evan Rothstein

Rothstein held the same position under Schwartz.

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