As expected, the Tennessee Titans removed the interim tag from Mike Mularkey’s title and named him the team’s permanent head coach.
As TitanInsider.com first reported on Jan. 4 when Ruston Webster was let go, the Titans were looking to keep Mularkey as head coach and pair him with a new general manager, which they did on Thursday when they hired Tampa Bay Buccaneers director of player personnel Jon Robinson to become the club’s new general manager.
Mularkey guided the Titans to just a 2-7 record after replacing the fired Ken Whisenhunt in early November. Mularkey was hired over three other candidates who were all interviewed in the past three days.
“The vision Mike presented for our football team during this search as well as the character, integrity, and leadership skills he displayed during the last two months of the season makes him the right coach for the Tennessee Titans,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. “Mike is a quality coach and an outstanding person who will help us build this team the right way. He has experience as a head coach and a track record for developing young quarterbacks and dynamic offenses, and he also brings continuity for our franchise quarterback. We understand this may take time as we rebuild the roster and bring in new coaches for Mike’s staff, but we believe he has the experience and expertise to build a consistent winner.”
The Titans interviewed former Bills coach Doug Marrone, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Thursday and Friday, respectively, and then spoke with their own defensive coordinator Ray Horton on Saturday morning before declaring what had been reported and speculated upon for the past 12 days – that Mularkey would be the hire as head coach.
A joint press conference with Mularkey and Robinson is scheduled for Monday at 1 p.m. CT.
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“I am honored to be named the head coach of the Titans, and I want to thank Amy (Adams Strunk), Kenneth (Adams IV), Steve (Underwood) and Jon for this opportunity,” Mularkey said in a release from the Titans in the announcement. “I will give all that I have to make this team successful and our city and fans proud. The last two months of the season were extremely valuable in order to understand our personnel and instill some of our values and standard of play, so we won’t be starting from scratch. With that as a basis, we will now be installing some new systems and bringing in new coaches and players to build on what we have started. There is plenty of work to be done until we reach our goal, but we will all work tirelessly to get us there.”
In previous head coaching stops in Buffalo and Jacksonville and his nine-game stint with the Titans this year, Mularkey is a combined 18-39 in three-and a-half seasons.
The Titans’ search steered clear of hot coaching candidates like Adam Gase (hired by the Dolphins), Hue Jackson (hired by the Browns) and Josh McDaniels, whose Patriots are still in the playoffs.
“After numerous discussions with Mike and consulting trusted colleagues throughout the league, I believe he is the right head coach to lead this Titans team,” Robinson said. “Mike’s attention to detail as well as his track record of building dynamic offenses while developing young quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan is impressive. Mike and I share an aligned vision of how to best proceed, and our goal is to build the Tennessee Titans into one of the elite organizations in the NFL.”
Mularkey’s first order of business will be to revamp the coaching staff, which has already lost defensive line coach Giff Smith to the Chargers and wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson to the Dolphins.
Among the other coaches who could be replaced on the staff include offensive line coach Bob Bostad, running backs coach Sylvester Croom and offensive coordinator Jason Michael.