Glazer: Cards ink coach to extension

BY foxsports • February 25, 2010

Ken Whisenhunt has done the unthinkable, turning the perennial cellar-dwelling Arizona Cardinals into a perennial winner. As a result, the team has rewarded its head coach.

 The Cardinals have signed Whisenhunt to a four-year contract extension with an option for a fifth, has learned. If the fifth year is picked up by the team, the total contact would be worth $30 million.

The team has also agreed to an extension with general manager Rod Graves, though details are unknown.

The deal catapults Whisenhunt into the upper echelon of coaching salaries. Not only do the Cards lock up one of the better young head coaches in the league, but the move also goes a long way in changing the NFL-wide perception of the Cardinals from a cheap team to one that rewards for a job well done.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Whisenhunt has a 27-21 record in three seasons in Arizona, including back-to-back NFC West division crowns and an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII -- a 27-23 loss to the Steelers.

Before Whisenhunt arrived, Arizona had just one winning season since 1984, four years before the franchise moved from St. Louis, and one playoff victory since 1947.

"It is exciting that they think enough of me as a coach to do this,'' he told The Associated Press by telephone on Thursday from the draft combine in Indianapolis, adding that it provides stability as he and his staff work to make the team a perennial playoff squad.

"The important thing is we have a system in place that's produced pretty good results the last couple of years,'' Whisenhunt said.

In a news relsea announcing the new contract, Cardinals president Michael Bidwell said, "Obviously Ken Whisenhunt's achievements as head coach speak for themselves ... What the team has accomplished in his three seasons as head coach is a testament to the talent and hard work of Ken and his assistant coaches.''

Whisenhunt, a walk-on at Georgia Tech who went on to set the school record for receptions, played nine NFL seasons as a journeyman tight end in the NFL, then worked his way through the coaching ranks. He spent the last three of his six seasons with the Steelers as offensive coordinator, helping the team win a Super Bowl.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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