TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have fired coach Ken Whisenhunt after six seasons that included the long-suffering franchise's only Super Bowl appearance.
The team also ousted general manager Rod Graves, who had been with the franchise for 16 years. He'd been general manager since 2007.
The housecleaning by Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, son of team owner Bill Bidwill, followed a season that saw the team start 4-0 but lose 11 of its last 12 to finish 5-11.
Bidwill wasted no time in identifying possible replacements, saying at a Monday news conference that the team had reached out to Andy Reid, fired earlier in the day after 14 years as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Bidwill also said he had received permission to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
Bidwill also said Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton was a candidate for the head coaching job and would be the first to be interviewed. Horton is believed to have interviews with other teams, too.
And Bidwill identified Steve Keim, Cardinals vice president for player personnel, as a candidate to replace Graves as general manager.
The 50-year-old Whisenhunt had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, 4-2 in the playoffs. He had a year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract.
Of the team's three winning seasons the past 28 years, two came with Whisenhunt as coach.
But the lack of success the past three seasons led Bidwill to make the changes.
"It came down to wins and losses and the direction I felt like the team was going," Bidwill said. "...It was a decision that I made over the last several weeks and came to a final decision last night."
In the last three seasons, Arizona won 18 games, only four on the road.
"When you look at the other teams in the NFC West, they were making dramatic improvements, especially the 49ers and the Seahawks," he said, "so I felt like we've got to get back to where we're competing at the highest level to win the NFC West."
Those dismissed included assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm, offensive coordinator Mike Miller, offensive quality control coach Chad Grimm, quarterbacks coach John McNulty, wide receivers coach Frank Reich and running backs coach Tommie Robinson. Tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens was the only coach on the offensive staff not fired.
None of the defensive coaches were dismissed.
Despite its overall lack of success, the team finished among the league leaders in several defensive categories.
In a statement released by the team, Whisenhunt thanked the Bidwills for the opportunity.
"I'm very proud of what we as a team and as an organization achieved during that time," he said. "Collectively we accomplished some very special and unprecedented things. That's a testament to the dedication, hard work and talent of so many coaches, players and people throughout the organization.
"But we all understand this business and when you don't win enough games changes are made. That doesn't mean it's easy but you definitely don't have to look far to find people that have it much worse."
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