TEMPE, Ariz. (Jan. 16, 2007) -- With one winning season in 19 years in the desert, the Arizona Cardinals need a new direction.
Ken Whisenhunt believes he can provide it. He's aware of the organization's troubled history, but isn't intimidated by it.
"You recognize that, but I don't think you live in the past," said Whisenhunt, who was formally introduced as the Cardinals' new head coach a news conference at the club's headquarters.
Whisenhunt joins the Cardinals after three seasons as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator. The Cardinals hired the 44-year-old Whisenhunt to replace Dennis Green, who was fired after going 16-32 in three seasons. Whisenhunt signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth.
"This is a dream come true for me," said Whisenhunt, who plans to call the offensive plays on Sundays.
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.
Whisenhunt also interviewed for coaching jobs in Pittsburgh, Miami and Atlanta. He and fellow Pittsburgh assistant Russ Grimm had been considered leading candidates to replace Bill Cowher with the Steelers.
But the Steelers moved slowly to fill their job, and Whisenhunt was ready when the Cardinals made an offer.
The Cardinals went 5-11 last season, but they have a solid nucleus of offensive talent, including Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin and quarterback Matt Leinart.
Whisenhunt helped mold Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who set an NFL record by winning his first 13 career starts and, one year later, became the youngest quarterback in league history to win a Super Bowl.
Whisenhunt is a native of Atlanta and a graduate of Georgia Tech. He played nine NFL seasons with the Falcons, Redskins and Jets.
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2007, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved