The two previously worked together as assistants on Jeff Fisher's staff in Tennessee. Schwartz was defensive coordinator under Fisher this past season, when the Titans posted an NFL-best 13-3 record with a defense that ranked second in points allowed.
Cunningham, a 40-year coaching veteran on the college and pro levels, was Kansas City's head coach from 1999-2000 and the Chiefs' defensive coordinator in 1995-98 and from 2004 through this past season.
He'll set about trying to fix one of the league's worst defenses, one of the big reasons Detroit didn't win a game last season.
Terms of his contract were not disclosed.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press