Football The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time  

Ranker NFL
1.8k votes 475 voters 12.8k views 27 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.
list ordered by

1
78 26
Joe Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 87
Joseph Paul Schmidt is a former American football player and coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. His 13-year career with the National Football League's Detroit Lions gained him ...more

2
146 77
Wayne Fontes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 79
Wayne Fontes is a former American football coach and college and professional football player who was the head coach of the NFL's Detroit Lions from 1988 to 1996. His 67 wins and 71 losses are ...more

3
151 83
Jim Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 64
James "Jim" Caldwell is an American football coach, who is currently the head coach of the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. Caldwell served as the head football coach at ...more

4
56 27
Buddy Parker is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 69 (1913-1982)
Raymond "Buddy" Parker was a football player and coach in the National Football League who served as head coach for three teams: the Chicago Cardinals, the Detroit Lions and the ...more

5
37 24
Dutch Clark is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 72 (1906-1978)
Earl Harry "Dutch" Clark was an American football player and coach. He played college football at Colorado College and then in the National Football League with the Portsmouth Spartans ...more

6
30 22
George Clark is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
George "Potsy" Clark Dec. at 78 (1894-1972)
George M. "Potsy" Clark was an American football and baseball player, coach, and athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Michigan Agricultural College, now ...more

7
34 32
Monte Clark is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 72 (1937-2009)
Monte Dale Clark was an American football player who served as head coach for two National Football League teams: the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions.

8
33 33
Gary Moeller is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 78
Gary Oscar Moeller 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 won 44 games, lost ...more

9
26 28
George Wilson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
George Wilson Dec. at 85 (1905-1990)
George Bownan Wilson, Jr. was an American football player who played at Lafayette College. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

10
29 34
Bobby Ross is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 83
Robert Joseph Ross is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at The Citadel, the University of Maryland, College Park, the Georgia Institute of ...more

11
55 72
Jim Schwartz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 53
James J. Schwartz was the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2009 to 2013 and most recently the Defensive Coordinator of the Buffalo Bills in 2014.

12
16 19
Matt Patricia is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Dominic Lount added age 45
Matt Patricia is an American football defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots of the National Football League.

13
16 21
Gus Dorais is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Gus Dorais Dec. at 63 (1891-1954)
Charles Emile "Gus" Dorais was an American football player and coach of football, basketball, and baseball. Dorais played college football at the University of Notre Dame, where he was ...more

14
30 42
Steve Mariucci is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 64
Stephen Ray "Steve" Mariucci is a former National Football League coach. He coached for the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions.

15
15 21
Gus Henderson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Gus Henderson Dec. at 76 (1889-1965)
Elmer Clinton "Gloomy Gus" Henderson was an American football coach. He served as the head coach at the University of Southern California, the University of Tulsa, and Occidental ...more

16
16 23
Don McCafferty is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 53 (1921-1974)
Donald William McCafferty was an American football coach who, in his first year as head coach of the Baltimore Colts, led the team to a victory in Super Bowl V, and became the first rookie head ...more

17
18 26
Hal Griffin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Hal Griffin

18
14 22
John Karcis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
John Karcis Dec. at 65 (1908-1973)
John "Bull" Karcis was an American football running back in the National Football League for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Giants. Karcis was also the head ...more

19
10 19
Harry Gilmer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 93
Harry Vincent Gilmer, Jr. is a former American football halfback and quarterback in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions. He was inducted into the College ...more

20
9 21
Bo McMillin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Dec. at 57 (1895-1952)
Alvin Nugent "Bo" McMillin was an American football player and coach, who served at both the collegiate and professional levels. He played college football at Centre College in ...more

21
10 24
Rick Forzano is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 91
Richard Edward "Rick" Forzano is a former American football coach at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, most prominently as head coach of the National Football ...more

22
10 24
Tommy Hudspeth is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
Tommy Hudspeth age 88
Tommy Hudspeth is a former American and Canadian football coach and executive at both the collegiate and professional levels. He was the head coach at Brigham Young University from 1964 to 1971, ...more

23
8 23
Bill Edwards is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 99
William Bennett "Monk" Edwards was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the New York Giants. He played college football at Baylor University as a ...more

24
11 30
Darryl Rogers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 84
Darryl Dale Rogers is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at California State University, Fresno, San Jose State University, Michigan State University, and ...more

25
12 33
Dick Jauron is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Detroit Lions Coaches of All Time
age 69
Richard Manuel Jauron is a former National Football League player and coach. He played eight seasons, five with the Detroit Lions and three with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was head coach of the ...more