Report: Mike Munchak to interview with Lions
Head-coaching experience continues to be a high priority for the Detroit Lions in their search to replace Jim Schwartz.
Former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, who was fired last weekend when he refused to make changes on his staff, is scheduled to interview Friday with the Lions, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.
San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whistenhunt, who was the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach for six years (2007-12), remains the widely perceived favorite to get the Detroit job. He’s expected to interview sometime this week.
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell, previously a head coach with the Indianapolis Colts for three seasons (2009-11), already interviewed with the Lions last week.
Asked about the importance of head-coaching experience during a news conference to announce Schwartz’s firing, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said, "I think that would benefit a candidate, but I am not going to pigeon-hole myself into that. I think that’s something that would benefit somebody that we are talking to because we think that we are pretty far along in the process, and we don’t want to start over."
The one confirmed candidate who has emerged without previous NFL head-coaching experience is Jay Gruden.
The Lions reportedly have requested an interview with Gruden. He is the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator, but he does have head-coaching experience in the Arena Football League, where he had a 93-61 overall record and won two championships. Gruden’s brother, Jon, is a former Super Bowl-winning coach.
Munchak, meanwhile, had spent his entire professional life working in the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans organization. He was the eighth pick overall by the Oilers in the 1982 NFL Draft as an offensive guard and went on to play 12 years in the league before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Munchak, 53, then spent 16 years as an assistant coach with the Oilers/Titans and got promoted to head coach in 2011. His three-year record was 22-26.
He’s also considered a candidate to replace Bill O’Brien as the coach at Penn State, Munchak’s alma mater.
Running back Joique Bell was named winner of the Lions’ Chuck Hughes Most Improved Player award in a voting by his teammates.
Bell, who played in college at Wayne State, rushed for 650 yards and eight touchdowns, and caught 53 passes for 547 yards this season.