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The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 3.3k votes 742 voters 21.6k 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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  • Wayne Fontes1
    243
    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...  more
  • Jim Caldwell2
    251
    132

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceBeloit, Wisconsin

    James Caldwell (born January 16, 1955) is an American football coach and former player who is...  more
  • Joe Schmidt3
    147
    62

    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...  more

    More Joe Schmidt 

    #152 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#14 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time

  • Buddy Parker4
    83
    43

    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...  more
  • Earl "Dutch" Clark5
    63
    34

    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...  more

    More Dutch Clark 

    #99 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time#80 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time

  • George Wilson6
    50
    36

    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...  more
  • George "Potsy" Clark7
    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...  more
  • Gus Dorais8
    49
    37

    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,...  more
  • Gary Moeller9
    66
    67

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceLima, Ohio

    Gary Oscar Moeller (born January 26, 1941) is a former American football coach best known for...  more
  • Monte Clark10
    59
    58

    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...  more
  • Bobby Ross11
    56
    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. ...  more
  • Steve Mariucci12
    57
    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...  more
  • Jim Schwartz13
    89
    140

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplaceBaltimore, Halethorpe, Maryland

    James J. Schwartz (born June 2, 1966) is an American football coach who is the defensive...  more
  • Harry Gilmer14
    20
    34

    BirthplaceBirmingham, Alabama

    Harry Vincent Gilmer Jr. (April 14, 1926 – August 20, 2016) was an American football halfback...  more

    More Harry Gilmer 

    #72 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time#105 of 119 The Greatest College Football Quarterbacks of All Time

  • Don McCafferty15
    20
    38

    Don McCafferty

    Dec. at 53 (1921-1974)

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio

    Donald William McCafferty (March 12, 1921 – July 28, 1974) was an American football player and...  more
  • Hal Griffin16
    18
    39

    Hal Griffin

  • John Karcis17
    14
    33

    John Karcis

    Dec. at 65 (1908-1973)

    BirthplaceMonaca, Pennsylvania

    John "Bull" Karcis (December 3, 1908 – September 4, 1973) was an American football player and...  more
  • Gus Henderson18
    16
    35

    Gus Henderson

    Dec. at 76 (1889-1965)

    BirthplaceOberlin, Ohio

    Elmer Clinton "Gloomy Gus" Henderson (March 10, 1889 – December 16, 1965) was an American...  more
  • Bo McMillin19
    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...  more
  • Matt Patricia20
    62
    117

    BirthplaceSherrill, New York

    Matthew Edward Patricia (born September 13, 1974) is an American football coach who is the...  more
  • Rick Forzano21
    17
    45
    Richard Eugene Forzano (November 20, 1928 – January 10, 2019) was an American football coach...  more
  • Dick Jauron22
    23
    58

    NationalityUnited States of America

    BirthplacePeoria, Illinois

    Richard Manuel Jauron (born October 7, 1950) is a former National Football League (NFL) player...  more
  • Darryl Rogers23
    18
    68

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    Darryl Dale Rogers (May 28, 1934 – July 10, 2018) was an American football player and coach....  more
  • Rod Marinelli24
    26
    121

    BirthplaceRosemead, California

    Rodney Marinelli (born July 13, 1949) is an American football coach who is the defensive...  more
  • Tommy Hudspeth25
    13
    44

    Tommy Hudspeth

    Age: 89

    NationalityCanada

    BirthplaceCherryvale, Kansas

    Tommy Joe Hudspeth (September 14, 1931 – June 23, 2015) was an American and Canadian football...  more