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Arizona Cardinals hire Kliff Kingsbury as next head coach

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury waits to lead the team onto the field before their NCAA college football game against Kansas, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Lubbock, Texas. (Sam Grenadier/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal via AP)

The Arizona Cardinals hired former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury to become the franchise’s next head coach, the team announced Tuesday.

FOX’s Peter Schrager was the first to report that the two sides were nearing a deal before NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport added, “this should be done shortly.”

The team confirmed ESPN’s Adam Schefter report that Kingsbury will receive a four-year deal that has a team option for a fifth year.

The first-time NFL head coach will be introduced as the Cardinals head coach at a press conference on Wednesday.

Kingsbury, 39, was one of five known candidates to interview for the position left vacant by Steve Wilks, who was fired on New Year’s eve following a 3-11 season. Wilks lasted one season with the Cardinals after replacing Bruce Arians.

Kingsbury was the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders for six seasons, compiling a 35-40 overall record. His best season was his first one in 2013, when the Raiders went 8-5 and won the Holiday Bowl over then-No. 16 Arizona State. They were ranked as high as No. 10 in the country that season.

Texas Tech reached the six-win mark three times in those six seasons as Kingsbury coached quaterbacks that included Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb. Under Kingsbury’s tutelage, Mahomes passed for a nation-leading 5,052 yards in his junior season in 2016, while Texas Tech’s offense finished eighth in the country in total yards.

After Texas Tech finished 5-7 in 2018, the school decided to not retain Kingsbury for the 2019 season. Kingsbury was hired less than a month later by USC to become its next offensive coordinator.

It originally appeared as though Kingsbury wouldn’t have been able to even interview for NFL jobs, since reports indicated that USC was denying teams’ interview requests. But on Jan. 7, multiple reports surfaced saying that Kingsbury would begin interviewing for NFL jobs, and that the Cardinals and Jets would both be interested. That same day, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Cardinals and Kingsbury had “strong mutual interest” in each other.

Kingsbury has a buyout in his USC contract for $150,000 to resign that the Cardinals are expected to take care of, per the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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