Monday, January 15, 2007

Whisenhunt New Cardinals Coach

The Arizona Cardinals on Sunday hired Ken Whisenhunt, Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator, to replace coach Dennis Green, who was fired after a 16-32 record in three seasons.

Whisenhunt, 44, signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth. He is to be introduced at a news conference Tuesday.

"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 from St. Louis 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.

Whisenhunt and fellow Pittsburgh assistant Russ Grimm had been considered leading candidates to replace Bill Cowher with the Steelers.

Whisenhunt spent six years on Cowher's staff, three as tight ends coach and three as offensive coordinator. He also had assistant coaching stints with the New York Jets, Cleveland and Baltimore. He played in the NFL for nine seasons with Atlanta, Washington and the Jets.

The Cardinals have had one winning season — and one playoff appearance — since 1984. They have one playoff victory since winning the NFL championship in 1947.

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 Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, a person familiar with the team's search said.

The person requested anonymity because the Dolphins have declined to identify candidates.

Last week, the Dolphins said they planned to narrow the list to five candidates, then to two before making an offer.

Mora was 26-22 in three seasons with Atlanta before he was fired after this season.

Gailey is a former Dolphins offensive coordinator and former coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Schottenheimer, 33, is the son of San Diego Coach Marty Schottenheimer. He has been with the Jets only one season.

The Dolphins reached an agreement with their defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, on a new three-year contract.

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