Ken Whisenhunt hired as head coach; Titans to pick 11th in NFL Draft
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans have turned the page on the 2013 season and enter 2014 in the midst of significant change. A new coaching staff has been assembled to guide the team’s youthful roster, and the organization now begins the process of strengthening the core of the team.
On January 13th, Ken Whisenhunt was hired as the 17th head coach in franchise history. He replaced Mike Munchak, who led the team from 2011 through the end of the 2013 campaign. During Munchak’s tenure, the Titans had a record of 22 wins and 26 losses, including a 7-9 mark in 2013.
Whisenhunt arrives in Tennessee with 26 years of NFL experience—nine seasons as a player and 17 seasons as a coach.
The 51-year-old native of Augusta, GA, owns a résumé that includes six years as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. He got his start in coaching as an assistant at Vanderbilt University from 1995 to 1996.
“Ken is a well-respected coach in this league, and I am looking forward to seeing his vision become reality for this team,” said Titans President/CEO Tommy Smith. “He has a history of building successful offenses and took Arizona to a Super Bowl as a head coach. We all share a common goal for this team and that is to build a consistent winner.”
As Cardinals head coach from 2007 through 2012, Whisenhunt took the franchise to new heights. He won a franchise-record 49 games and led the organization to its first NFC Championship. After a team-record 12-win season in 2008—the first of two consecutive NFC West titles—the Cardinals made it to Super Bowl XLIII, only to suffer a narrow defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2013, Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Under his direction, the Chargers had the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense (393.3 yards per game) and the league’s top offense on third down (49.0 percent).
Quarterback Philip Rivers’ 105.5 passer rating matched the highest rating of his career and placed fourth among NFL signal callers. For his efforts, Whisenhunt was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America.
“I look for this to be a really fine marriage,” said Ruston Webster, who led the coaching search in his third offseason as general manager. “Ken is an outstanding offensive coach, but also an outstanding head coach. He has a background with several successful franchises, and we look forward to a new day and creating a new culture with the Tennessee Titans.”
Whisenhunt was on the Steelers coaching staff from 2001 through 2006, spending the first three seasons as tight ends coach and the final three campaigns as offensive coordinator. With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in only his second NFL season, the 2005 club won Super Bowl XL with Whisenhunt calling the plays.
As a player, the former Georgia Tech walk-on played in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and New York Jets. As a tight end, he caught 62 passes for 601 yards and six touchdowns in 74 career games.
“This place is special to me, and that has a pull,” Whisenhunt said upon accepting the job in Tennessee. “From my experience as an opponent coming in here, the fan base is great. They are loud … We have to do a good job of giving them a product to be proud of. The fact that I felt so good about Ruston—and Mr. Smith and I had many good conversations and I felt really good about him when I met him—that was a big piece of it.”
|Ken Whisenhunt’s Coaching Ledgerr|
|2013||San Diego||Off. Coord.|
|2000||New York Jets||Tight Ends|
|1995-96||Vanderbilt||Sp. Teams & Tight Ends|