Schwartz made the comment Friday after he was introduced as the team's new leader. The 42-year-old Schwartz replaced Rod Marinelli, who was fired.
Schwartz was with the Tennessee Titans for 10 years, the past eight as defensive coordinator. He was believed to have a four-year contract in his new job.
"I want to put a team on the field that Detroit can be proud of," Schwartz said. "There's no better feeling in football than turning a situation around. Our success will be so much sweeter because of the 0-16 (record) and the past."
The Lions have lost 23 of their last 24 games.
Schwartz was a scout for the Cleveland Browns early in his NFL career.
"I think any coach should probably start in scouting ... you learn the long-term picture and you learn how the team's built, " Schwartz said. "Scouting has given me a longer- term approach."