PHOENIX (AP) – Ken Whisenhunt helped the Pittsburgh Steelers and their young quarterback win a Super Bowl.
Now he will take over for the Arizona Cardinals, where another youngster is at the controls of the offense, but the franchise has made losing a way of life for a long, long time.
The Cardinals hired Whisenhunt, Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator, on Sunday to replace head coach Dennis Green, who was fired after going 16-32 in three seasons.
The 44-year-old coach signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth, and is to be introduced at a news conference on Tuesday.
“In the end, we felt that Ken was the best fit for this organization,” said Rod Graves, Cardinals vice president for football operations, “and we felt that because of the leadership that he portrayed. He presented a well-organized and thorough plan moving forward. We liked it.”
Whisenhunt becomes the Cardinals’ eighth coach since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988.
He was one of eight candidates interviewed for the job, but one of only two who got a second interview. The other was former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman.
He also interviewed for coaching jobs in Pittsburgh, Miami and Atlanta. Whisenhunt and fellow Pittsburgh assistant Russ Grimm had been considered leading candidates to replace Bill Cowher with the Steelers.
Mora, Gailey remain candidates for Miami job
MIAMI – Former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. has been invited to a second interview with the Miami Dolphins, who also plan to meet again with Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey and New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, a person familiar with the team’s search said Sunday.
The Dolphins reached an agreement with their defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, on a new three-year contract. He may remain in contention for the head coaching job vacated when Nick Saban left for Alabama on Jan. 3.
Dolphins officials pared down their list of candidates over the weekend.
The team met with 12 coaches during the first round of interviews, which ended Wednesday.
Last week, the Dolphins said they planned to narrow the list to five candidates, then to two before making an offer.
Mora went 26-22 in three seasons with Atlanta before he was fired after this season. He led the Falcons to the NFC championship game in his first season, but the past two years they went 4-13 during the final two months, missing the playoffs both times.
Gailey is a former Dolphins offensive coordinator and former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He just completed the first year of a five-year, $5 million contract extension that ties him to Georgia Tech through 2010.
The 33-year-old Schottenheimer, son of San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer, is the Dolphins’ youngest candidate and has been with the Jets only one season.
Capers was a head coach for expansion teams in Carolina and Houston. His contract with the Dolphins expired over the weekend, and they feared he would be courted for a coordinator’s job by other teams.