The Arizona Cardinals have filled the NFL’s final head coaching vacancy by hiring Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
The team confirmed the hiring in a release Thursday night, saying Arians received a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year.
The 60-year-old longtime assistant went 9-3 as Colts interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was undergoing treatment for leukemia last season.
Arians arrived in Arizona on Wednesday night, had dinner with top team officials, then interviewed on Thursday and met with reporters to indicate his interest in the job.
He was offered and accepted the job Thursday night. Arians also was a finalist for the Chicago job that went to Marc Trestman.
Arians was the sixth known candidate interviewed to replace Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after six seasons.
The Cardinals said Arians would be introduced as coach at a news conference today.
In his meeting with reporters earlier Thursday, before he was hired, Arians said his stint as Pagano’s replacement “answered all questions I ever had” about whether he could succeed as an NFL coach.
“I hope it answered all the questions everybody else has had for all these years,” he said.
Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton was passed over to be head coach. He has a year left on his contract and his future with the organization was in question.
Asked Thursday afternoon if he would keep Horton as defensive coordinator if he got the Arizona job, Arians declined to discuss the prospect.
“Right now it’s way too early in the process,” Arians said. “Obviously, I know Ray. I’ve got a history with Ray. But all those things would be way down the road. Guys are under contract. You can’t really comment on staff members at this point in time.”
Horton, who played for the Washington Huskies, was defensive backs coach with the Steelers when Arians was offensive coordinator there.
New-look Browns hire Turner
The Cleveland Browns named Norv Turner their new offensive coordinator.
Turner, fired by the Chargers as head coach earlier this month, led San Diego to a 59-43 record in six years with three division titles. He also was head coach of the Washington Redskins (1994-2000) and Oakland Raiders (2004-05).
New Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski expects Turner to make a big impact on that side of the ball, and the Browns can use the help. Cleveland went 5-11 this season scored just 302 points in coach Pat Shurmur’s final season.
Whisenhunt new Chargers OC
The San Diego Chargers hired former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator.
New Chargers coach Mike McCoy lauded Whisenhunt’s experience, saying Whisenhunt has a “very creative mind.”
Whisenhunt was fired by the Cardinals on Dec. 31 after six mostly losing seasons but he also led the franchise to its lone Super Bowl appearance in 2009.