Jim Caldwell (American football)

Jim Caldwell

Color photograph of Jim Caldwell wearing a blue Indianapolis Colts hat and white sport shirt, headset around his neck, standing on football field sideline.

Caldwell in 2010
Detroit Lions
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Date of birth: (1955-01-16) January 16, 1955
Place of birth: Beloit, Wisconsin
Career information
High school: Beloit Memorial (WI)
College: Iowa
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season: 52–40 (.565)
Postseason: 2–3 (.400)
Career: NCAA: 26–63 (.292)
NFL: 54–43 (.557)
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

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


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

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 holds the NFL record for the best start by a rookie head coach, starting his career with 14 wins. The 14 wins also tied a franchise record. As of Super Bowl XLVIII, 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

Thirteen days after his dismissal from the 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]

Detroit Lions

On January 14, 2014, the Detroit Lions announced Caldwell as their new head coach.[9] He is the first African American to hold the position for the Lions.[10]

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.

Coaching tree

NFL head coaches under whom Jim Caldwell has served:


Caldwell and his wife, Cheryl, have four children: Jimmy, Jermaine, Jared, and Natalie.[11]

Head coaching record


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
WonLostTiesWin %Finish Won Lost Win % Result
IND2009 1420.8751st in AFC South21.667Lost to New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV
IND2010 1060.6251st in AFC South01.000Lost to New York Jets in AFC Wild-Card Game
IND2011 2140.1254th in AFC South----
IND Total26220.54222.500
DET2014 11 5 0.688 2nd in NFC North 01.000Lost to Dallas Cowboys in NFC Wild-Card Game
DET2015 7 9 0.438 3rd in NFC North ----
DET2016 8 4 0.667 TBD ----
DET Total26180.59101.000-


  1. "Dungy steps down as Colts coach; assistant Caldwell will take over", Sports Illustrated.com, Jan 12, 2009, retrieved Jan 20, 2009
  2. "NFL REPORT: Patriots' Pioli gets GM job with K.C", AJC.com, Jan 14, 2009, retrieved Jan 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. Jim Caldwell to be hired by Detroit Lions as next coach NFL.com, January 14, 2014
  10. "Lions' Caldwell Honored As Team's First African-American Coach". CBS Detroit. July 26, 2014. Archived from the original on September 10, 2014.
  11. "Jim Caldwell". colts.com. 30 April 2005. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011.
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