- The Arizona Cardinals have hired Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach.
- Kingsbury became a surprisingly hot coaching candidate in recent weeks, despite having joined USC as an offensive coordinator in December.
- Kingsbury spent six years as head coach at Texas Tech, developing a reputation for running efficient offenses that benefitted quarterbacks, despite also posting a losing record while there.
The Arizona Cardinals are finalizing a contract to hire Kliff Kingsbury as their next head coach, as first reported by NFL Network’s Peter Schrager.
Kingsbury has had a whirlwind few months, first being fired by Texas Tech in November, getting hired by USC as an offensive coordinator in December, then becoming one of the hottest coaching prospects seemingly out of nowhere.
Kingsbury went 35-40 in six seasons with Texas Tech but made a name for himself by working with several big-name quarterbacks, including Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield (who later transferred to Oklahoma after being surpassed as the starter), and Davis Webb. His teams were efficient on offense, and his quarterbacks were known to put up big numbers.
It’s unclear, however, how exactly Kingsbury became one of the biggest coaching candidates – he also interviewed with the New York Jets. According to the Cardinals’ official press release announcing the hire, the New England Patriots would have considered Kingsbury for offensive coordinator if current OC Josh McDaniels got a head-coaching job.
Kingsbury was announced as the offensive coordinator of USC on December 5. When teams reached out to USC to interview Kingsbury, they were reportedly blocked. The NFL mandates that teams respect candidates being blocked for interviews.
However, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that multiple sources believed Kingsbury would just buy out his contract with USC to enter the coaching pool. Kingsbury’s buyout number was not believed to be high, according to Florio.
Kingsbury spent just over one month with the school.
Kingsbury was believed to be a coveted candidate because of his work with quarterbacks and ability to coach a spread offense. The Cardinals’ press release announcing the hire included that Kingsbury is friends with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, considered the NFL’s best offensive mind, and was offered a job with the Rams for their stretch run, but ultimately chose USC.
Kingsbury will now work with second-year quarterback Josh Rosen, who has shown promise but struggled in his rookie year. The Cardinals also have the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft.