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The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 3.3k votes 752 voters 21.7k views27 items
There have been many Detroit Lions coaches since the team got its start, but who is truly the best Detroit Lions coach of all time? Help us answer that question by upvoting your personal favorite Detroit Lions coaches, and downvoting any that you believe brought the team down. Unfortunately the Lions have never even been to a Super Bowl, and are only one of four teams to hold that honor.
 
The Lions have not historically had a lot of playoff success, but Wayne Fontes coached the team to several playoff seasons during his run from 1988-1996. The Lions only went 1-4 during those appearances, but at least he helped them get there.
 
Since 1996 there have been 8 different Lions head coaches, including names like Dick Jauron, Bobby Ross, and most recently Jim Schwartz. The current head coach of the Detroit Lions is Jim Caldwell, having been with the team since 2014.
 
Who is the greatest Detroit Lions coach of all time? Let us know by upvoting for your favorite head coaches below that you believe really made an impact on the franchise.
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    259
    128

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceBeloit, Wisconsin

    James Caldwell (born January 16, 1955) is an American football coach and former player who is currently the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football...  more
  • 2
    247
    121

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceNew Bedford, Massachusetts, United States of America

    Wayne Fontes (; born February 2, 1940) is a former American football coach and college and professional football player who was the head coach of the National Football League's Detroit Lions from...  more
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    150
    60

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    TeamsDetroit Lions

    Joseph Schmidt (1904 – 1942) was a tenor and actor. Joseph Schmidt or Joe Schmidt may also refer to: Joe Schmidt (American football) (born 1932), American football player and coach Joe Schmidt...  more

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    #70 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time#11 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time

  • 4
    83
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    Buddy Parker

    Dec. at 69 (1913-1982)

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceSlaton, Texas

    Raymond "Buddy" Parker (December 16, 1913 – March 22, 1982) was a football player and coach in the National Football League who served as head coach for three teams: the Chicago Cardinals, the...  more
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    61
    33

    Earl "Dutch" Clark

    Dec. at 72 (1906-1978)

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceFowler, Colorado

    TeamsDetroit Lions

    Earl Harry "Dutch" Clark (October 11, 1906 – August 5, 1978), sometimes also known as the "Flying Dutchman" and the "Old Master", was an American football player and coach, basketball player and...  more

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    #79 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#103 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

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    51
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    George Wilson

    Dec. at 85 (1905-1990)

    BirthplaceGlenside, Abington Township, Pennsylvania

    George Bownan Wilson, Jr. (July 18, 1905 – May 3, 1990) was an American football player who played at Lafayette College. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988....  more
  • 7
    45
    31

    George "Potsy" Clark

    Dec. at 78 (1894-1972)

    BirthplaceCarthage, Illinois

    George M. "Potsy" Clark (March 20, 1894 – November 8, 1972) was an American football and baseball player, coach, and athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Michigan...  more
  • 8
    67
    66

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceLima, Ohio

    Gary Oscar Moeller (born January 26, 1941) is a former American football coach best known for being head coach at the University of Michigan from 1990 to 1994. During his five seasons at Michigan, he...  more
  • 9
    59
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    Monte Clark

    Dec. at 72 (1937-2009)

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceKingsburg, California

    Monte Dale Clark (January 24, 1937 – September 16, 2009) was an American football player who served as head coach for two National Football League teams: the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit...  more
  • 10
    54
    76

    Bobby Ross

    Age: 84

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceRichmond, Virginia

    Robert Joseph Ross (born December 23, 1936) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at The Citadel (1973–1977), the University of Maryland, College Park...  more
  • 11
    92
    138

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceBaltimore, Halethorpe, Maryland

    James J. Schwartz (born June 2, 1966) is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). Schwartz was also formerly the...  more
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    56
    85

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceIron Mountain, Michigan, United States of America

    Stephen Ray Mariucci (born November 4, 1955), nicknamed "Mooch", is an American sportscaster and former football coach who was the head coach of two National Football League teams, the San Francisco...  more
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    20
    33

    BirthplaceBirmingham, Alabama

    Harry Vincent Gilmer Jr. (April 14, 1926 – August 20, 2016) was an American football halfback and quarterback in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions. He was...  more

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    #106 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time#71 of 94 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time

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    20
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    Gus Dorais

    Dec. at 63 (1891-1954)

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceChippewa Falls, Wisconsin

    Charles Emile "Gus" Dorais (July 2, 1891 – January 3, 1954) was an American football player, coach, and athletic administrator.Dorais played college football at the University of Notre Dame, where he...  more
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    20
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    Don McCafferty

    Dec. at 53 (1921-1974)

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio

    Donald William McCafferty (March 12, 1921 – July 28, 1974) was an American football player and coach who, in his first year as head coach of the Baltimore Colts, led the team to a victory in Super...  more
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    18
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    Hal Griffin

  • 17
    15
    35

    Gus Henderson

    Dec. at 76 (1889-1965)

    BirthplaceOberlin, Ohio

    Elmer Clinton "Gloomy Gus" Henderson (March 10, 1889 – December 16, 1965) was an American football coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Southern California (1919–1924), the...  more
  • 18
    14
    32

    John Karcis

    Dec. at 65 (1908-1973)

    BirthplaceMonaca, Pennsylvania

    John "Bull" Karcis (December 3, 1908 – September 4, 1973) was an American football player and coach. He played professionally as a fullback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Brooklyn...  more
  • 19
    12
    32

    Bo McMillin

    Dec. at 57 (1895-1952)

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplacePrairie Hill, Texas

    Alvin Nugent "Bo" McMillin (January 12, 1895 – March 31, 1952) was an American football player and coach at the collegiate and professional level. He played college football at Centre College in...  more
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    17
    44
    Richard Eugene Forzano (November 20, 1928 – January 10, 2019) was an American football coach at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, most prominently as head coach of the National...  more
  • 21
    23
    58

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplacePeoria, Illinois

    Richard Manuel Jauron (born October 7, 1950) is a former National Football League (NFL) player and coach. He played eight seasons, five with the Detroit Lions and three with the Cincinnati Bengals....  more
  • 22
    59
    128

    BirthplaceSherrill, New York

    Matthew Edward Patricia (born September 13, 1974) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He previously served 14 seasons as an...  more
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    27
    122

    BirthplaceRosemead, California

    Rodney Marinelli (born July 13, 1949) is an American football coach who is the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). He has been a defensive coach for...  more
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    13
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    Tommy Hudspeth

    Age: 89

    NationalityCanada

    BirthplaceCherryvale, Kansas

    Tommy Joe Hudspeth (September 14, 1931 – June 23, 2015) was an American and Canadian football coach and executive at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was the head coach at Brigham...  more
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    18
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    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Darryl Dale Rogers (May 28, 1934 – July 10, 2018) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at California State College at Hayward—now known as California State...  more