Titans hire Whisenhunt as new head coach

Ken Whisenhunt coached Arizona for six seasons, leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2009. He spent this past season as offensive coordinator at San Diego. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Ken Whisenhunt coached Arizona for six seasons, leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2009. He spent this past season as offensive coordinator at San Diego. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

By Teresa M. Walker

Associated Press

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Titans wrapped up their head coaching search by hiring San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith announced the hiring Monday evening.

“Ken is a well-respected coach in this league and I am looking forward to seeing his vision become reality for this team,” Smith said in a statement. “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.”

Whisenhunt, 51, will be introduced today.

The Titans flew to San Diego on Friday and interviewed Whisenhunt, who started his coaching career in Nashville at Vanderbilt. He was the fourth interviewee for the Titans, who fired Mike Munchak on Jan. 4.

But the Titans had competition for Whisenhunt, who also interviewed with Detroit and Cleveland last week.

Cardinal rule

Whisenhunt spent six years at Arizona and took the Cardinals to their lone Super Bowl in 2009. He was fired Dec. 31, 2012, with a record of 45-51 in the regular season and 4-2 in the playoffs.

He interviewed with Cleveland last year before being hired as offensive coordinator in San Diego where he helped Philip Rivers and the Chargers to the playoffs.

Whisenhunt, a native of Augusta, Ga., played tight end at Georgia Tech and played 74 games in nine NFL seasons with Atlanta, Washington and the Jets.

The Titans’ hiring leaves Minnesota, Detroit and Cleveland still looking for head coaches.

They also interviewed Jay Gruden, who was hired Thursday as Washington’s new coach, Baltimore offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell and Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Tennessee parted with Munchak after going 7-9 this past season and missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season. This franchise has not won a postseason game since January 2003. But Tennessee ranks eighth in the NFL for the best winning percentage in the league since 1999 with a record of 131-108.