Mariucci playing nice? Lions retain two more

Since taking over as head coach last Wednesday, Steve Mariucci's presumed house-cleaning isn't exactly taking place. At least not yet. The Lions' announced Tuesday that the team would retain the services of quarterbacks coach Kevin Higgins and tight ends coach Sean Kugler.

Lions' head coach Steve Mariucci has decided to retain highly regarded quarterbacks coach Kevin Higgins, in addition to tight ends coach Sean Kugler. The terms of new deals for each were not disclosed, according to an official team release.

The announcement comes shortly after the team declared special teams coordinator Chuck Priefer and assistant Don Clemons would be kept on staff. Since Mariucci was named head coach last Wednesday, he has yet to replace or remove any Lions' assistant.

Kevin Higgins will enter his third season with Detroit, providing tutelage to quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon. Higgins previously served as head coach at Lehigh University, spending thirteen successful years with the program (seven as head coach) before he was called up to the NFL. The former Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year candidate is recognized as a quarterback guru, and is considered a vital part of Harrington's development.

Sean Kugler is also entering his third season with the Lions, serving primarily as a tight end coach. Kugler's specialty is showing the tight ends different blocking techniques in addition to refining their pass catching skills. Before joining Detroit in 2001, Kugler served for six years as Texas El-Paso's offensive line coach.

The Lions announced their 2003 pre-season schedule today, which will begin when the team hosts the Pittsburgh Steelers (August 7-11). The team will travel to Cincinatti the following week (August 14-18), and then return to Ford Field to battle the Cleveland Browns (August 21-25). Detroit will conclude its pre-season schedule at Buffalo to battle Drew Bledsoe and the Bills. (August 28-31). Although the exact dates have yet to be determined, most games will likely be held on the Friday of the four-day window. Those dates, along with the NFL regular season schedule, will be announced in early-to-mid March. Below are the Lions opponents for 2003.

HOME: Arizona, Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis
AWAY: Carolina, Chicago, Denver, Green Bay, Kansas City, Minnesota, San Francisco, Seattle

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