Skip to main content

3 College Coaches Detroit Lions Should Interview

Read more on potential college coaches the Detroit Lions should interview to replace Matt Patricia

The next few weeks will see the Detroit Lions interview several potential candidates to replace Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia.

“This staffing change brings lots of work with it, (which) Rod and I and our advisors take very seriously. We are already deeply into researching top candidates for head coach and GM, and as the recent internal memo stated, have already interviewed several in-house candidates for the GM job," Sheila Ford Hamp explained in a released internal memo. "This process will play out over the next six weeks or so, with the result being a well vetted and proven head coach/GM team that can finally take the Lions where we all so earnestly wish to go --  to the top!”

Despite the requisite for experience, there are several college head coaches who should be added to the interview list. 

1.) Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald

According to a recent ESPN report, two NFL teams have inquired about the potential of Fitzgerald leaving Northwestern to take the leap to the NFL. 

"Fitzgerald, who has won two Big Ten West titles over the past three years and has coached Northwestern to three 10-win seasons, will be one of the highest-demand NFL head-coaching candidates in the upcoming hiring cycle," writes ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter.

In the past five years, nine NFL teams have reportedly inquired about hiring Fitzgerald. 

In 2019, Fitzgerald was in consideration to be hired by the Carolina Panthers. 

He reportedly turned down the opportunity to interview for the Green Bay Packers opening that eventually went to Matt LaFleur. 

fitzgerald

2.) Stanford head coach David Shaw

Shaw surpassed Pop Warner for the most wins in Stanford football history back in 2017. 

His tenure has been largely viewed as successful, as the 48-year-old coach has a record of 89-36 since becoming head coach in 2011. 

He’s secured three Pac-12 titles, and has built up the program to be a perennial winner on the West Coast. 

Recommended Lions Articles

holmes5

Updating Lions' First-Round 2022 Draft Picks

The Los Angeles Rams' victory over the Arizona Cardinals dropped the Detroit Lions' second of two first-round draft picks.

okwara5

Detroit Lions' Defense Finished 2021 27th in Sack Rate

The Detroit Lions must bolster their pass rush in the draft and via free agency.

stafford5

Matthew Stafford Wins First Career Playoff Game

The Los Angeles Rams advance to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next weekend.

In a recent podcast interview, Saints head coach Sean Payton expressed frustration that Shaw hasn't had more opportunities in the NFL. 

“Why is it that a young, talented coach, (a) Stanford graduate, (a) West Coast offense, offensive guy; and I always begin with David, because I know him, I know how talented he is," Payton said. "Now, he may turn down all of those opportunities. But, you know what, he didn’t have those opportunities where someone said, ‘We have to have him.’"

3.) Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley 

Not only is he an offensive mastermind, but he's also been the head coach of a program that has won at least 12 games and has made the College Football Playoff each of the last three seasons.

In his tenure at Oklahoma, Riley has successfully developed Baker Mayfield (now with the Cleveland Browns), Kyler Murray (now with the Arizona Cardinals) and Jalen Hurts (now with the Philadelphia Eagles). 

"I've heard nothing but great things about him," Adrian Peterson recently explained when asked about the potential of Riley coaching in the NFL. "I've met him, and talked to him several times. But, it's nothing like being there and going through that grind with a guy. So, listening to some of the players. My best friend actually was the cornerbacks coach there, Marcus Walker. Just talking to him about how coach was, and he was just like me and the guys' love him. You know, they feed off his energy, and he's a players' coach (and) about his business. And, that's what you need." 

More from SI All Lions:

Predictions: Titans-Lions

All Lions Mailbag: Should Next Lions Coach Be an Offensive or Defensive Mind?

Podcast: Is Chris Spielman Best Candidate to Advise Detroit Lions?

Report: Stafford Preparing to Play Sunday against Tennessee

Lions-Titans Preview: 5 Questions with David Boclair of SI All Titans

Why Derrick Henry Will Be a Problem for Lions Sunday

Get the latest Detroit Lions news by joining our community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our SI All Lions page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @DetroitPodcast.