Schwartz, 47, will enter his 21st year in the NFL coaching ranks and ninth as a defensive coordinator. He served in the same capacity with the Tennessee Titans from 2001-08 overseeing a defense that finished in the top 10 in both rushing yards allowed per game (5th-103.5) and third down conversion rate (6th-36.1%) during his tenure.
Hired in 2009 as the Detroit Lions head coach, Schwartz led Detroit to a 10-6 record in 2011 en route to the team’s first playoff appearance since 1999.
“We are excited to add a talented and accomplished coordinator in Jim Schwartz to our staff,” said Bills head coach Doug Marrone. “Schwartz has led aggressive and productive defensive units throughout his time in the NFL and we feel our defense will continue to improve under his leadership.”
Schwartz instilled an aggressive style of defense as the head coach of the Lions, leading the 2011 version of the Detroit defense to 34 takeaways (third in the NFL) and a franchise record seven defensive touchdowns. Schwartz also led the Lions’ pass rush to a dramatic improvement in 2010, registering 44 sacks (sixth in the NFL) compared to just 30 in 2009.
Under Schwartz’s guidance, Lions’ DT Ndamukong Suh was named to the Pro Bowl in three of his first four seasons in addition to earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro honors in 2010.
During his tenure as the Titans’ defensive coordinator, Schwartz’s defenses continually ranked amongst the league’s best—finishing in the top 10 in total defense three times in addition to the Tennessee rushing defense tallying five top-10 finishes. Schwartz also played a key role in helping seven Titans defenders earn Pro Bowl honors during his time with Tennessee.
In 2003, Schwartz oversaw the league’s top rushing defense as the Titans allowed just 80.9 yards per game to opposing rushers. The performance marked just the second time in franchise history that Tennessee finished atop the league’s rushing defense rankings.
Prior to being named the Titans’ defensive coordinator, Schwartz worked for Tennessee in multiple capacities including as the linebackers/third down package coach in 2000 and as a defensive assistant in 1999.
Schwartz started his NFL career as a college and pro scout with the Cleveland Browns from 1993-96 under head coach Bill Belichick before making the switch to coaching in 1996 as a defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens.
Before making the jump to the NFL, Schwartz worked on the college level for four years. He began his career as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Maryland, working with the Terrapins’ linebackers from 1989-90 and then served as graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota (1990-91). He became a position coach with the secondary at North Carolina Central (1991-92) before moving to Colgate (1992) as linebackers coach.