Thursday, January 25
Mornhinweg sets sights on Super Bowl

PONTIAC, Mich. -- Marty Mornhinweg officially became coach of the Detroit Lions on Thursday and immediately set his sights on the Super Bowl.

Marty Mornhinweg
Matt Millen, left, the new president of the Detroit Lions, introduces the team's new coach, Marty Mornhinweg, during a news conference.

"I'm excited about this opportunity," Mornhinweg said at a news conference. "The bar is high. The goal for this organization is to win Super Bowls."

Mornhinweg agreed to a five-year deal, worth around $5 million, sources told ESPN.

The Lions have never played in a Super Bowl, but new president Matt Millen believes Mornhinweg can get them there. Millen, who played on four Super Bowl champions with three teams, said the 38-year-old Mornhinweg comes to Detroit "with a great pedigree."

"He's his own man," Millen said of the former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator. "He's strong. He's a bulldog."

Mornhinweg becomes the Lions' third coach in three months. He replaces the fired Gary Moeller, who moved in after Bobby Ross resigned in November. Mornhinweg was one of five coaches considered for the job since Millen was hired two weeks ago.

Moeller was fired after taking over a 5-4 team that ended up 9-7 and out of the playoffs. Moeller's assistants also were fired but some could be re-hired by Mornhinweg.

Mornhinweg's hiring clearly showed Millen was in charge because Lions owner William Clay Ford wanted Moeller to stay for another season. But Ford didn't stand in Millen's way after giving him full authority to run the team.

The Lions will count on Mornhinweg to improve the play of quarterback Charlie Batch, who had 13 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions last season.

Mornhinweg plans to stick with Batch.

"Charlie will be the quarterback for the Detroit Lions," he said. "Unless something crazy or unforeseen happens."

Mornhinweg had a record-setting career at Montana as a quarterback. The Edmond, Okla., native played briefly in the Arena Football League before a career-ending knee injury. He then spent 10 seasons as a college assistant before joining the Green Bay Packers.

Mornhinweg spent the last four seasons as the 49ers' offensive coordinator after two years as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach for the Packers.

Mornhinweg has never been a head coach at any level, nor does he have any coaching experience on defense. He was Brett Favre's position coach during Green Bay's 1996 Super Bowl season.

Millen, a former NFL standout and broadcast analyst, received a five-year, $15 million contract to be the president and chief executive officer in Detroit.

Moeller was given a 2½-year contract when he took the Detroit coaching job last season. But his status became shaky when Millen was hired.

"I regret that I will not have the opportunity to continue coaching and working with the players who have meant so much to me," Moeller said in a written statement. "I was truly delighted to be their leader for the last two months of the season. They became a very special group."

The Lions had fired their offensive and defensive coordinators along with their receivers coach after being eliminated from the playoffs with a loss to Chicago at home in the regular-season finale.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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