Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Tennessee Titans have decided to relieve Augusta, Georgia native and former Academy of Richmond County (ARC) football star, Ken Whisenhunt, of his head coaching duties.
According to a press release from the Titans, Whisenhunt was informed on Tuesday morning the organization wants to go in a different direction. Mike Mularkey, who served as assistant head coach/tight ends under Whisenhunt, will take over as interim coach.
Underwood said in a news conference that the conversation with Whisenhunt was relatively short and that the former coach was “very professional” when he learned the news.
“Changing head coaches is never easy,” Underwood said. “I think it’s a positive thing for the organization and fans.”
Mike Mularkey, who served as assistant head coach/tight ends under Whisenhunt, will immediately take over as interim head coach.
During a news conference, Mularkey said he had to take a step back and catch his breath after receiving the news Tuesday morning.
He added that he has spoken with some of the team’s players, including rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, about the changes.
He said the conversation with Mariota was not very in-depth, but it was positive.
“I think now that there is change they need to have a talking to that, ‘this is what is expected.’ We’ve got to do better,” Mularkey said, adding, “I know I’ve got to get a team out of a 1-6 start.”
The decision to let Whisenhunt, who was hired by former Titans president Tommy Smith, go came just 23 games into his tenure as head coach and two days after the Titans lost their sixth straight game.
Underwood said that Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk had been considering the change for several weeks and that she will hire the next head coach.
“After thoughtful consideration, the decision has been made to relieve Ken Whisenhunt of his head coaching duties,” Strunk said in a release. “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.”
Whisenhunt’s record with the Titans was 3-20.
The Titans finished 2-14 in his first season with the club in 2014, and the team is currently 1-6.
The Titans have lost 16 of their last 17 games dating back to last season.
Following news of his departure, Whisenhunt released a statement the following statement
“My family and I are grateful for our time in Nashville and my opportunity to work for the Titans. I am sorry we weren’t able to get it done in our time here. Our players and staff were great to work with and I want to thank them for their dedication and hard work. I also want to thank the fans for their support and I wish the organization success moving forward.”
The search for a new head coach begins immediately as the organization evaluates Mularkey in the role.
Mularkey said he is interested in the position permanently.