The Tennessee Titans, following a 1-6 start to the season, have fired Ken Whisenhunt less than two years into his tenure as the team’s coach.
The team announced the decision Tuesday while promoting assistant head coach/tight ends coach Mike Mularkey to interim coach. “After thoughtful consideration, the decision has been made to relieve Ken Whisenhunt of his head coaching duties,” franchise owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “We have expected more progress on the field, and I felt it was time to move in a different direction. I would like to thank Ken for his efforts with our team, as he worked very hard to try to move us forward.”
It wasn’t a hasty decision by the Nashville-based club. Stave Underwood, the president and CEO of Titans, said that Strunk had been considering for several weeks. “She (Strunk) and I have had any number of conversations about it,” said Underwood. “She was in almost daily communication with Ken and (GM) Ruston Webster. I think she’s been to every single game at home or on the road. She follows the team for hours every day.
“Having been around the business for most of her life, I think it was something she decided as a process not an event,” added Underwood.
Mularkey, the new interim coach, wasn’t expecting the decision. “I will say caught off-guard is probably an understatement,’” he said at a press conference. “I don’t think anyone knew what was going to take place. It was hard for me because of my relationship with Ken – we go back 25 years in the business.
“But I also know how this business works. It’s time to turn the page, and I am looking forward to this opportunity and can hopefully dig us out of the hole that we’ve – including myself – put ourselves in, and move forward from this point on,” added Mularkey, who is in his 21st year of NFL coaching.
Mularkey spent three years as a head coach, including two for the Buffalo Bills (2004-05) and a year with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2012).