Skip to main content

Lions hire ex-Rams head coach Linehan as offensive coordinator

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- For the second time in the last three years, the Detroit Lions have turned to a former St. Louis Rams head coach to try to turn around their dismal offense.

New Lions head coach Jim Schwartz on Friday hired Scott Linehan as offensive coordinator. The Rams fired Linehan as head coach after the team opened the 2008 season 0-4.

Coaching file
Age: 45

Years in NFL: 7

Years in college: 13

"Scott brings a lot of experience, not only to the offensive coordinator position but also coaching the quarterbacks, which is a job description for our offensive coordinator, and also head-coaching experience in the NFL," Schwartz said at a news conference.

In 2006, the Lions also turned to a fired Rams head coach to lead their offensive effort. They hired Mike Martz one month after he was fired by St. Louis. He coached the Rams from 2000 to 2005, including a Super Bowl loss in 2001.

The Lions fired Martz one year ago, replacing him with Jim Colletto.

Linehan became the Rams' head coach in 2006. Before that, he spent four years as an offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings.

Schwartz drew a connection between Linehan's time in Miami and the upcoming challenges for the Lions.

"He came from Minnesota, where he had had some pretty good success, and went to Miami on a team that -- probably a lot like us here -- was going through a transformation, a new program and those kinds of things," Schwartz said. "(He) had a lot of success with a defensive-minded head coach in executing that vision that Nick (Saban) had, and he turned it into a head-coaching opportunity."

Linehan held assistant coaching jobs at the college level for 13 years, with stints at Louisville, Washington, Idaho and UNLV.

Schwartz took the Lions' head-coaching job after Rod Marinelli was fired following Detroit's 0-16 season, the first in NFL history.

Linehan was Schwartz's second major staff hire. On Wednesday, he brought in veteran assistant Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

"I thought it was important to get the offense and defensive coordinator done in the first week," Schwartz said. "We were lucky enough to be able to do it with two experienced guys. After that, I think everything else will fall into place."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.