Arizona Cardinals hire Kliff Kingsbury as next head coach

Jan. 8 (UPI) — The Arizona Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they hired Kliff Kingsbury to be the team’s next head coach.

The 39-year-old coach flew in for an interview Tuesday morning and left in the afternoon after he signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth.

The team also said a press conference will be held on Wednesday to formally announce the move.

“I’ve been around football my entire life,” Kingsbury told the team’s website. “I’ve played in this league, coached on the college level, and have always been fascinated by the NFL. With the offensive trends these days, it felt like a perfect time to be here.”

Kingsbury had a 35-40 record as head coach of Texas Tech before being fired in November. He was hired by USC to be the school’s offensive coordinator at the beginning of December.

Despite being hired by USC, Kingsbury attracted the attention of NFL teams and interviewed with the New York Jets for their open head coaching position. The New England Patriots were also reportedly interested in him as a potential replacement to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels if he decided to leave.

Kingsbury will attempt to revitalize the Cardinals, who posted a 3-13 record this season. The new coach has young quarterback Josh Rosen to work with and the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I think you see where it’s been, where it’s going, you have a young quarterback, lots of salary cap space and a team that will continue to fight through the season,” Kingsbury said. “I’m really honored to be here and excited to be here.”

Kingsbury has never coached on the professional level, but had an NFL playing career that began with the Patriots in 2003. He also spent time with the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Jets.

Kingsbury’s coaching career began in 2008 at Houston when he was an offensive quality control coach. He moved up to co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2010, but moved on to Texas A&M as the school’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012.

The offensive-minded coach has developed multiple NFL quarterbacks during his coaching career, including Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Cleveland Browns rookie Baker Mayfield.

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