Detroit Lions: Ron prince

With the coaching staff settled, the majority of the questions surrounding the Detroit Lions turn to what is next for the franchise.

As in where the team will look in the draft and in free agency, both with guys who have been with Detroit in the past, and players they might look to bring in from other teams.

We'll chat about those things and more in this week's Lions Mailbag, filled with your questions.
The Detroit Lions have made another hire, and this one was both anticipated and still unexpected.


Well, the team is bringing Ron Prince, the former Kansas State head coach, in as the team’s assistant head coach. That is the expected part, as John Wooten from the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation said Prince would likely be part of the staff from the outset.

Here’s the unexpected part: Prince also will coach the tight ends. And that’s the intrigue with this hire. Prince has never been a tight ends coach in his life. He’s coached offensive line for years. He’s been an offensive coordinator at Virginia from 2003-06 -- including Matt Schaub’s senior season -- and was the Rutgers offensive coordinator last season.

His only NFL experience is as an assistant offensive line coach for two seasons under new head coach Jim Caldwell in 2010 and 2011 and then with Jacksonville in 2012.

Prince played his college ball as an offensive tackle at Dodge City Community College in 1988 and 1989 and then for two seasons at Appalachian State.

The 44-year-old then worked his way up the difficult way. He had stints as an offensive line coach at Alabama A&M, South Carolina State, James Madison and Cornell before landing as Virginia’s offensive line coach under Al Groh in 2001.

Two seasons later, he was the offensive coordinator and then eventually the head coach at Kansas State from 2006-08, where he went 17-20 and was the middleman between Bill Snyder eras at the school.

When Prince was fired by Kansas State, he ended up in a lawsuit with the school over his termination fee and whether or not there was a secret agreement between him and the school. The case, which was eventually settled for $1.65 million in May 2011, was written about by the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette. As part of the settlement, Prince was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case.

The other interesting football part about this hire is that Prince has been an offensive line coach for so long. Perhaps -- and this might be reading too much into it -- Caldwell saw the blocking struggles of the team’s current tight ends (specifically Joseph Fauria) and figured this might be the best way to turn him into a complete tight end.

Or, I’m reading way too much into that.

Coaching Staff to this point:

Head coach -- Jim Caldwell
Asssistant head coach -- Ron Prince
Offensive coordinator -- TBD
Defensive coordinator -- Teryl Austin
Quarterbacks -- TBD
Running backs -- Curtis Modkins
Wide receivers -- TBD
Tight ends -- Ron Prince
Offensive line -- Jeremiah Washburn (asst. Bobby Johnson)
TBD -- Terry Heffernan
Defensive line -- Kris Kocurek (asst. Jim Washburn)
Linebackers -- Bill Sheridan
Secondary -- TBD
Special teams -- John Bonamego (asst. Evan Rothstein)
DETROIT -- Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand said he would do something almost sacrilegious when it comes to someone who graduated from Michigan.

If it meant the Lions would win, he would tattoo a "buckeye" on his forehead. As in an Ohio State Buckeye. The questions, of course, came in response to whether he would be fine with former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel on a potential Lions staff.

"If it helps us win, I will tattoo a Buckeye on my forehead," Lewand said.

New Lions coach Jim Caldwell had no staff announcements Wednesday afternoon during his introductory press conference and declined to speak about specific potential hires when meeting with the media afterward as well.

But Tressel's name has been linked to Caldwell since he became a plausible candidate for the Detroit job, especially since the two worked together during his time in Indianapolis when he was a replay-review consultant during Caldwell's final year with the team.

He didn't rule out hiring Tressel but didn't make it sound likely, either. Tressel is working as an executive vice president for student success at his alma mater, Akron.

"I'm not going to talk about staff, but I did say I think Tressel's perfectly happy doing what he's doing right now," Caldwell said. "Even though he worked with us in Indy, good friend as well, but I do think he's really pleased with where he is at this stage."

While Caldwell wouldn't discuss names of candidates or coordinators, Baltimore defensive backs coach Teryl Austin has been mentioned as a possible defensive coordinator and Rutgers offensive coordinator Ron Prince has been mentioned as an offensive assistant.

Lewand said Caldwell will meet with Detroit's current staff Thursday to discuss their futures. The goal is to have as many assistants in place as possible before next week's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

"It's an ongoing process right now," Caldwell said. "At this particular point in time, we're working and some things will start to take shape here shortly."
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Jim Caldwell has been the Detroit Lions coach for less than a few hours, but already a bunch of names have popped up as potential assistants and coordinators.

John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, told on Tuesday that Teryl Austin is a likely choice for Caldwell as his defensive coordinator. Austin was the secondary coach with the Ravens since 2011 and has been a defensive coordinator for just one season -- in 2010 at Florida.

Austin also has experience in Michigan, having been a defensive assistant with the University of Michigan from 1999 to 2002.

ESPN Insider Ed Werder is reporting that Bill Lazor, the quarterbacks coach with Philadelphia, will be a candidate for offensive coordinator. Wooten told that Ron Prince, currently the Rutgers offensive coordinator, is also a candidate to be on staff.

Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press is reporting Caldwell might consider former Minnesota defensive coordinator Alan Williams for his defensive backs coach and that Dwaine Board from Seattle or Ray Hamilton from Atlanta could be the team's defensive line coach.