The Cardinals have a new head coach. Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt signed a four-year contract Sunday – with a team option for a fifth season – to become the team’s seventh coach since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988.
With the Martin Luther King holiday Monday, a press conference will not be held until Tuesday.
“It became apparent to us, particularly when we got into second phase of the interview process that Ken began to separate himself from the other candidates,” vice president of football operations Rod Graves said. “It became obvious to us that his leadership ability, the plan he had for our football team and the organization he demonstrated was clearly the right one for this team.”
Graves declined to give many details of Whisenhunt’s plans, saying the coach himself would reveal them this week. That includes whether or not defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast – who remains under contract along with six other holdover assistants – will keep his job.
Graves also emphasized that, despite various rumors to the contrary, the Cardinals offered their job to only one person, and that was Whisenhunt.
A report in a couple of outlets had said Texans assistant head coach Mike Sherman had been offered the job but wanted too much money. Graves called the rumor “false.”
The 44-year-old Whisenhunt has a reputation as a creative offensive mind and should fit well with a Cards’ offense that has star power at quarterback (Matt Leinart), running back (Edgerrin James) and wide receiver (Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin).
Whisenhunt arrived Friday for a second interview, a talk that lasted, as planned, into Saturday.
The Cardinals had also interviewed Texans assistant head coach Mike Sherman for a second time.
Whisenhunt had been offensive coordinator for the Steelers since the 2004 season, following three seasons as tight ends coach. He has 10 years of NFL coaching experience.
Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl in 2005 with Whisenhunt on staff.
Whisenhunt also played tight end in the NFL for nine seasons.