There are five months until the Detroit Lions’ new season, and I can’t wait.

It’s not just because my NCAA men’s basketball bracket is now a coaster on my desk. It is because of the palpable excitement surrounding the new head coach, Jim Caldwell.

The coach means business.

Nowhere was it plainer than at a recent reception in his honor to meet some of Detroit’s most prominent black residents: a mix of community icons, fans, former players and agency heads cohosted by Greektown Casino Vice President Marvin Beatty and Detroit NAACP President Wendell Anthony, pastor of Fellowship Chapel Church, who introduced Caldwell by thanking Lions President Tom Lewand.

“I salute Tom Lewand, because we’ve talked about this, you know we have” Anthony said of the Lions hiring the team’s first black coach. Anthony introduced Caldwell by recalling his own days playing football for an inner-city youth team called the West Side Cubs, which had heart but pitiful helmets, commitment but worn-out uniforms. He called out the names of those long-ago coaches who didn’t live to see the Lions have a black coach.