After the Tennessee Titans muddled through another disappointing 7-9 season, they decided to clean house and start fresh.
Following 30 years of service to the franchise, Mike Munchak was fired after winning just 22 games in his three seasons as head coach with zero playoff appearances.
After nine long days searching for Munchak’s replacement, they opted to remain focused on the offensive side of the ball, hiring Ken Whisenhunt, previously the offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers.
But who is Ken Whisenhunt, really?
You might remember him as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals (2007-2012), including an improbable Super Bowl run in 2008 with quarterback Kurt Warner, ultimately losing in Super Bowl XLIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
You might remember him as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers (2004-2006), including a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. He called the unforgettable trick-play, a pass from wide receiver Antwaan Randle El to Hines Ward, taking a 21-10 lead and allowing the Steelers to pull away for the win.
Or maybe you don’t remember much about his journey to becoming the Titans 18th head coach in franchise history. After all, he has bounced around the league like a pinball since getting his first coaching gig back in 1997, as the tight ends coach for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s been a coach with the Ravens, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cardinals, Chargers and now Titans.
Whisenhunt is also a former NFL tight end, selected in the 12th round of the 1985 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons. He went on to have a seven-year career, playing for the Falcons, Washington Redskins and Jets. He was an average tight end, never recording more than 20 receptions in a single season.
A few things you probably didn’t know about Whisenhunt: he is an avid golfer, and actually worked the scoreboard on the 18th hole at the Masters Tournament as a teenager. After retiring from the NFL, he contemplated a career in professional golf before joining Vanderbilt University as a special teams coach.
Now 19 years later, he returns to Nashville, the place where he started his coaching career, with the hopes of bringing the Titans back to the playoffs.