Titans hire Ken Whisenhunt as new head coach

The Tennessee Titans have hired San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as their new head coach.

Whisenhunt replaces Mike Munchak, who parted with the team after three seasons and a 22-26 record.

A press conference is expected on Tuesday at the team's headquarters.

Titans general manager Ruston Webster interviewed the 51-year-old Whisenhunt on Friday in San Diego. He'd long been considered the favorite to land with the Detroit Lions, but the Titans stepped in and snagged him.

Whisenhunt has head coaching experience, going 45-51 in six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, including a trip to the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2008 season. Earlier in his career, he won a Super Bowl ring calling plays as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He spent one season as offensive coordinator with the Chargers, who were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday with a loss to the Denver Broncos.

The Titans also interviewed Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. Webster and Titans president/CEO Tommy Smith had a second interview with Zimmer today in Houston.

The Titans were also interested in Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but they would have had to wait to interview him as Seattle advanced to the NFC Championship Game.

So the Titans pounced on Whisenhunt.

Whisenhunt began his coaching career at Vanderbilt, where he coached special teams and tight ends from 1995-97.

He moved into the NFL the following year, and coached either tight ends or special teams for four teams - Ravens, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and Steelers - through 2003.

His big break came in 2004, when he began a three-year stint as Steelers offensive coordinator, going to the Super Bowl with second-year quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That led to a head-coaching job with the Cardinals.

In Arizona, he helped resurrect the career of quarterback Kurt Warner, who was thought to be done before turning in three strong seasons with the Cardinals prior to retirement. The Cardinals also had four top-10 defenses in Whisenhunt's six years in Arizona.

In one season with the Chargers, he helped quarterback Phillip Rivers bounce back from two down seasons. Rivers completed 69.5% of his passes for 4,478 yards this season, with 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. In one year, Whisenhunt improved the Chargers' overall offensive ranking from 31st to fifth, and the passing attack jumped from 24th to fourth.

Chargers first-year wide receiver Keenan Allen had more than 1,000 receiving yards this season, and oft-maligned running back Ryan Matthews produced a career-best 1,255 rushing yards.

In his 10 years as either an offensive coordinator or head coach, Whisenhunt oversaw four top-10 passing offenses.

He struggled in Arizona following the retirement of Warner, as the Cardinals went just 18-30 over three seasons. He was unable to develop a consistent winner in the post-Warner era among a cast of quarterback misfits that included Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb and Max Hall.

Things ended poorly for Whisenhunt and the Cardinals in 2011, as they lost nine straight games and 11 of 12 to finish the season.


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