Jim Caldwell (American football)

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Jim Caldwell
refer to caption
Caldwell in 2016
Detroit Lions
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1955-01-16) January 16, 1955 (age 62)
Beloit, Wisconsin
Career information
High school: Beloit Memorial (WI)
College: Iowa
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season: 60–49 (.550)
Postseason: 2–4 (.333)

NCAA: 26–63 (.292)

NFL: 62–53 (.539)
Coaching stats at PFR

James Caldwell (born January 16, 1955) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). Caldwell served as the head football coach at Wake Forest University from 1993 to 2000, and as the head coach of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts from 2009 to 2011.

College career[edit]

Caldwell attended the University of Iowa, where he was a four-year starter at defensive back for the Iowa Hawkeyes football team from 1973 to 1976.

Coaching career[edit]


Caldwell served as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa, Southern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Louisville, and Pennsylvania State University before being named head coach at Wake Forest University in 1993. He was the first African-American head football coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

In eight years, Caldwell had a record of 26–63, he installed a powerful passing attack that set numerous school records, many of which have since been broken under his successor, Jim Grobe. However, his teams rarely ran well; in one year the Demon Deacons' leading rusher only notched 300 yards for the entire season. He only had one winning season, in 1999, when the Deacons won the Aloha Bowl.

Indianapolis Colts[edit]

Caldwell joined Tony Dungy's staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001 as quarterbacks coach, he followed Dungy to Indianapolis in 2002 and remained with him for his entire tenure, helping lead the Colts to a win in Super Bowl XLI.

On January 13, 2008, Caldwell was formally announced as Dungy's successor-in-waiting, on January 12, 2009, Dungy announced his retirement, putting Caldwell in the head coaching position.[1] He was formally introduced at a press conference the following day.[2]

Caldwell had one of the best debut seasons for a head coach in NFL history, finishing with a 14–2 record, the Colts rushed out to a 14–0 start. With the AFC South title and the top seed in the AFC playoffs secured, Caldwell opted (on orders from then GM, Bill Polian) to sit out his starting players the last two games of the season (both losses), drawing controversy to him and the team,[3] he later won his first playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens on January 16, 2010. On January 24, 2010, Caldwell became the 5th rookie head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl after securing a 30-17 win against the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, on February 7, 2010, Caldwell's rookie season ended with a 31–17 loss in Super Bowl XLIV to the New Orleans Saints.

Caldwell shares the NFL record for the best start by a rookie head coach, starting his career with 14 wins. George Seifert led the San Francisco 49ers to 14 wins as a rookie head coach in 1989. The 14 wins also tied a Colts franchise record, as of Super Bowl LI, Caldwell is the last rookie head coach to reach the Super Bowl.[4]

In his second season the Colts posted a 10–6 record but maintained the division title in the AFC South, they lost their first game in the playoffs to the New York Jets, 17–16, on January 8, 2011.

The 2011 season, however, saw the Colts sink to 2–14. Star quarterback Peyton Manning missed the entire season due to neck problems, and without him the Colts appeared to be a rudderless team. Caldwell was fired after the season.

Baltimore Ravens[edit]

Thirteen days after his dismissal from the Indianapolis Colts, Caldwell was named quarterbacks coach by the Baltimore Ravens on January 30, 2012,[5] on December 10, 2012, the Ravens dismissed Cam Cameron and named Caldwell the offensive coordinator.[6] On the day following the defeat of the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game, head coach John Harbaugh announced on January 22, 2013 that Caldwell would be the team's permanent offensive coordinator going into the 2013 season,[7] on February 3, 2013, Jim Caldwell helped lead the Baltimore offense to a 34–31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome.[8][9]

Detroit Lions[edit]

On January 14, 2014, the Detroit Lions announced Caldwell as their new head coach,[10] he is the first African American to hold the position for the Lions.[11]

In his first season as the Lions head coach, the team finished 11–5 and clinched a wild card berth, a game the Lions lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 24–20; in the next season, however, they posted a losing record of 7–9, but overcame an 0–5 start. In his third season in Detroit, the Lions improved to a 9–7 record and lost to the Packers in Week 17 in a game where the winner would win the NFC North, the Lions clinched another wild card berth, but lost the game to the Seattle Seahawks, 6–26.


Caldwell and his wife, Cheryl, have four children: Jimmy, Jermaine, Jared, and Natalie.[12]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Atlantic Coast Conference) (1993–2000)
1993 Wake Forest 2–9 1–7 9th
1994 Wake Forest 3–8 1–7 8th
1995 Wake Forest 1–10 0–8 9th
1996 Wake Forest 3–8 1–7 8th
1997 Wake Forest 5–6 3–5 7th
1998 Wake Forest 3–8 2–6 7th
1999 Wake Forest 7–5 3–5 5th W Aloha
2000 Wake Forest 2–9 1–7 8th
Wake Forest: 26–63 12–52
Total: 26–63


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
IND 2009 14 2 0 .875 1st in AFC South 2 1 .667 Lost to New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV
IND 2010 10 6 0 .625 1st in AFC South 0 1 .000 Lost to New York Jets in AFC Wild-Card Game
IND 2011 2 14 0 .125 4th in AFC South
IND Total 26 22 0 .542 2 2 .500
DET 2014 11 5 0 .688 2nd in NFC North 0 1 .000 Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Wild-Card Game
DET 2015 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC North
DET 2016 9 7 0 .563 2nd in NFC North 0 1 .000 Lost to Seattle Seahawks in NFC Wild-Card Game
DET 2017 8 6 0 .571 TBD in NFC North
DET Total 35 27 0 .564 0 2 .000 -
Total 61 49 0 .554 2 4 .333

Coaching tree[edit]

NFL head coaches under whom Jim Caldwell has served:

Assistants under Jim Caldwell who have become NCAA or NFL head coaches:


  1. ^ "Dungy steps down as Colts coach; assistant Caldwell will take over", Sports Illustrated.com, January 12, 2009, retrieved January 20, 2009 [dead link]
  2. ^ "NFL REPORT: Patriots' Pioli gets GM job with K.C", AJC.com, January 14, 2009, retrieved January 20, 2009 
  3. ^ "Indianapolis Colts' Jim Caldwell defends pulling starters vs. New York Jets". ESPN. December 28, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Mind-blowing stats for the Super Bowl". National Football League. January 29, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Mink, Ryan (January 30, 2012). "Ravens Hire Caldwell As QBs Coach". Baltimore Ravens Blogs. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Baltimore Ravens fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron". ABC 2 News. December 10, 2012. Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ Mink, Ryan (January 21, 2013). "Jim Caldwell Staying As Offensive Coordinator". Baltimore Ravens Blogs. Archived from the original on March 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Ravens overcome power outage, survive rally to win Super Bowl". ESPN. February 3, 2013. Archived from the original on August 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Super Bowl XLVII - San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens - February 3rd, 2013". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2017-11-08. 
  10. ^ Jim Caldwell to be hired by Detroit Lions as next coach NFL.com, January 14, 2014
  11. ^ "Lions' Caldwell Honored As Team's First African-American Coach". CBS Detroit. July 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 10, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Jim Caldwell". colts.com. 30 April 2005. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. 

External links[edit]