Los Angeles (AFP) – Steve Wilks, former defensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, was hired Monday as the new coach for the Arizona Cardinals, replacing the retiring Bruce Arians.
Wilks, 48, has been an NFL assistant coach since 2006 and signed a four-year deal just three days after a second interview with team president Michael Bidwell and Cardinals general manager Steve Keim.
“I understand it’s a privilege. I’m humbled and honored to be the head coach,” Wilks said.
Wilks takes over a Cardinals team that went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Arizona needs a quarterback after Carson Palmer retired and star receiver Larry Fitzgerald is considering leaving as well.
“This is not really a rebuild. This is a retool,” Wilks said in a posting on the team website. “We have the culture of winning here. We just have to be able to sustain it.”
The Panthers went 11-5 but lost to New Orleans in the first round of the playoffs. Under Wilks, the defensive unit ranked third in rushing defense and quarterback sacks, 11th in points allowed and seventh in total defense.
Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson tweeted “I LOVE IT” after the news broke.
Wilks was hired by Carolina in 2012 as defensive backs coach and added assistant head coach to his title in 2014, taking on defensive coordinator duties last season. He has also served as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears and then-San Diego Chargers.