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Published: Wednesday, 1/21/2009

Lions hire Chiefs assistant as defensive coordinator


ALLEN PARK, Mich. New Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz made his first major staff hire Wednesday, bringing in veteran assistant Gunther Cunningham as defensive coordinator.

The two previously worked together as assistants on Jeff Fisher s staff in Tennessee. Schwartz was defensive coordinator under Fisher this past season, when the Titans posted an NFL-best 13-3 record with a defense that ranked second in points allowed.

Cunningham, a 40-year coaching veteran on the college and pro levels, was Kansas City s head coach from 1999-2000 and the Chiefs defensive coordinator in 1995-98 and from 2004 through this past season.

He ll set about trying to fix one of the league s worst defenses, one of the big reasons Detroit didn t win a game last season.

Terms of his contract were not disclosed.

Cunningham also has served as an assistant with the Raiders, Chargers and Colts in the NFL and California, Stanford, Arkansas and Oregon in the college ranks.

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