List of Detroit Lions head coaches

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The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are currently a member of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The franchise has had a total of 25 head coaches in team history, which includes its existence as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans (1930–1933). In the 1934 NFL season, the franchise moved to Detroit and changed their name to the Lions.

George "Potsy" Clark is the only coach to have more than one tenure. Three different coaches have won NFL championships with the team: Potsy Clark in 1935, Buddy Parker in 1952 and 1953, and George Wilson in 1957.[1] Wayne Fontes is the all-time leader in games coached and wins, and Potsy Clark leads all coaches in winning percentage with .679 (with at least one full season coached).[2] John Karcis is statistically the worst coach the Lions have had never winning a game,[3] followed by Marty Mornhinweg with a winning percentage of .156.

Of the 26 Lions coaches, two have been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dutch Clark and Joe Schmidt.[4] Several former players have been head coach for the Lions, including Dutch Edwards, Buddy Parker, Harry Gilmer, Joe Schmidt, and Dick Jauron. The current head coach of the Lions is Jim Caldwell, who was hired on January 14, 2014.[5]


Note: Statistics are accurate through the 2013 NFL season.

GCGames coached
Win%Win – Loss percentage
*Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Spent entire professional head coaching career with the Lions

#NameTermRegular seasonPlayoffsAwards
Portsmouth Spartans
1Hal Griffin193014563.455
Detroit Lions
2George "Potsy" Clark[6]193119367448206.703110
3Earl "Dutch" Clark*19371938221480.636
4Gus Henderson193911650.545
George "Potsy" Clark*[6]194011551.500
5Bill Edwards1941194214491.308
6John Karcis19428080.000
7Gus Dorais194319475320312.392
8Bo McMillin194819503612240.333
9Buddy Parker195119567247232.671431UPI NFL Coach of the Year (1956)[7]
10George Wilson1957196410453456.541220AP Coach of the Year (1957)[8]
11Harry Gilmer196519662810162.385
12Joe Schmidt*196719728443347.558101
13Don McCafferty197314671.462
14Rick Forzano197419763215170.469
15Tommy Hudspeth197619772411130.458
16Monte Clark1978198410543611.413202
17Darryl Rogers198519885818400.310
18Wayne Fontes1988199613366670.496514AP Coach of the Year (1991)[9]
Pro Football Weekly Coach of the Year (1991)[10]
UPI NFC Coach of the Year (1991)[11]
19Bobby Ross199720005727300.474202
20Gary Moeller20007430.571
21Marty Mornhinweg20012002325270.156
22Steve Mariucci200320054315280.349
23Dick Jauron20055140.200
24Rod Marinelli200620084810380.208
25Jim Schwartz200920138029510.363101
26Jim Caldwell2014


  1. ^ "Detroit Lions Championship History". Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  2. ^ "Potsy Clark's Coaching Record". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  3. ^ "Marty Mornhinweg's Coaching Record". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  4. ^ "Hall of Famers by Franchise". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 19, 2008. 
  5. ^ Patra, Kevin (January 14, 2014). "Jim Caldwell to be hired by Detroit Lions as next coach". National Football League (NFL Enterprises LLC). Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Potsy Clark's full coaching record with the Lions is 85 regular season games coached with a record of 53–25–7 and a W–L percentage of .679. He is also 1–0 in 1 Playoff game.
  7. ^ "Buddy Parker". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  8. ^ "George William Wilson". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  9. ^ "Wayne Howard Joseph Fontes". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  10. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  11. ^ Vainisi, Jerry. "Barry Sanders retire? No Payton record? Not a chance". Retrieved 2008-04-12. 

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