The Lions have officially hired Dan Campbell as their new head coach. The former Saints assistant inked a six-year commitment on Wednesday morning (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport), a sign of Detroit’s confidence in the former tight end.
“This is an exciting day for our organization as we introduce Dan Campbell as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions,” Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. “With more than twenty years of experience as both a coach and player in the National Football League, Dan knows the rigors of professional football and what it takes to be successful. He will help promote the culture we want to establish across our organization, while also bringing with him high energy, a respect for the game and an identity with which everyone can align themselves.”
Campbell was the reported frontrunner for the vacancy, but with Lions couldn’t hire him until the Saints were eliminated from the playoffs. Eric Bieniemy, Marvin Lewis, Arthur Smith, and Robert Saleh were also considered for the job, but Campbell made a strong impression in his first interview and quickly secured the gig.
The Lions fired Matt Patricia just after Thanksgiving, capping his tenure with a 13-29-1 record. They also canned GM Bob Quinn, who was replaced by former Rams exec Brad Holmes earlier this month.
The Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 2016; they believe the energetic Campbell can turn things around. The 44-year-old has spent the last five years as a Saints assistant. Previous to that, Campbell climbed the coaching ladder, all the way up to the Dolphins’ interim head coaching job in 2015. A few years later, the Dolphins asked Campbell to interview for the permanent post, but he opted to wait for a better fit. Now, Campbell has found the right landing spot — and a six-year commitment — with the Lions.