Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN were first to break the news:
Whisenhunt to Titans; Jim Caldwell emerges w Lions. Mike Munchak still alive with Detroit & Cleveland, sources via @AdamSchefter & me— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 13, 2014
Less than an hour later, the Titans Twitter account made the hiring official:
The Titans official website released the following statement on Whisenhunt:
“This is a big day for this franchise,” said Titans President/CEO Tommy Smith. “Ken is a well-respected coach in this league and I am looking forward to seeing his vision become reality for this team. 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. I want to thank Ruston for his hard work in the process and the quality candidates that he brought in for interviews.”
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports believes Whisenhunt will be receiving a rather large payday:
Sounds like the Titans spent some bigboy money to land Ken Whisenhunt— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 14, 2014
Titans linebacker Zach Brown was one of the first to react to the hire on his Twitter account:
Ken Whisenhut new coach ayyy cool— Zach Brown (@ZachBrown_55) January 13, 2014
Ed Werder of ESPN says Whisenhunt was given a deal that exceeded the normal contract for a new head coach:
Most coaches receive 4-year deal, but Titans gave Ken Whisenhunt more than that and guaranteed the contract— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 14, 2014
Werder also talks about how Whisenhunt views his new GM counterpart and how he views Chris Johnson and Jake Locker's future with the Titans:
Whisenhunt impressed with GM Ruston Webster as his partner, believes more control and influence with Titans than Lions cap a concern— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 14, 2014
Source says Ken Whisenhunt has favorable impression of Jake Locker but Chris Johnson not likely to be new coach's running back— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) January 14, 2014
ESPN's Paul Kuharsky reports that the Lions' offer for Whisenhunt was exceeded by the Titans by more than $1 million a year:
But in choosing the Titans over the Detroit Lions and becoming Tennessee's new head coach, Whisenhunt got $1 million more in annual salary than what Detroit offered, according to a source familiar with the offers.
Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers during the 2013 season, teaming with first-year head coach Mike McCoy to revitalize the offense and the career of Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean and Kuharsky report John McNulty is expected to become the Titans' offensive coordinator:
Meanwhile, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that former Browns defensive coordinator will serve in that role for Whisenhunt:
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says QB Coach Frank Reich will serve as Whisenhunt's replacement:
#Chargers QB coach Frank Reich has signed a deal to become their offensive coordinator, per source. No surprise. Takes over for Whisenhunt— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 14, 2014
John Glennon of the Tennessean passes along Whisenhunt's hopes for the offense:
Whiz says he hopes #Titans offense will look little bit like Chargers last year. Finished 5th overall.— John Glennon (@glennonsports) January 14, 2014
Whisenhunt plans on calling the plays, according to ESPN's Paul Kuharsky:
#Titans Whisenhunt: Will call plays "unless somebody tells me I can't."— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) January 14, 2014
Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com reports Whisenhunt will likely run a hybrid 4-3, 3-4 defense:
Whisenhunt said there is misconception between 4-3 and 3-4. 70% in sub-packages. Sounds like he will have a hybrid defense to begin with— Terry McCormick (@terrymc13) January 14, 2014
That was evidently enough to convince Tennessee to hire the 51-year-old, but Whisenhunt's past experience certainly could not have hurt his candidacy. Whisenhunt led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl and two division championships in his six seasons as head coach of the team.
It became apparent very soon after the regular season concluded that Whisenhunt would be a hot name among teams seeking a new coach.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Sunday, Jan. 5, that the Detroit Lions job was Whisenhunt's to lose, and NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that just about every coach-free franchise was keen on him:
After being the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers for three seasons, the Cardinals gave Whisenhunt his first head-coaching job in the league ahead of the 2007 season.
The first season saw Arizona go 8-8. What followed in the second year was a 9-7 record, an NFC West title and a trip to Super Bowl XLIII, where Whisenhunt and the Cardinals fell to the Steelers in dramatic fashion.
Another division title followed, but once Kurt Warner retired, the quarterback situation in Arizona suffered. The situation eventually led to Whisenhunt's dismissal in 2012 but presented an immediate silver lining in the form of a fresh start in San Diego.
Under Whisenhunt's watch, the Chargers ranked fifth in total yards per game this season and won their last four games to make the playoffs as the AFC's No. 6 seed.
As for Whisenhunt's possible hire at offensive coordinator, Rapoport had some insight:
Tennessee is fortunate to bring in a hard-nosed coach like Whisenhunt. If he can do as good of a job with the Titans offense and QB Jake Locker as he did with Rivers and the Chargers' attack this past season, expect Tennessee to reap immediate benefits in the win column in 2014.