CARDINALS CORNER

Bidwill: Firing Kliff Kingsbury ‘a decision that needed to be made’

Jan 9, 2023, 6:59 PM | Updated: 7:21 pm
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill speaks with reporters after firing former head coach Kliff ...
Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill speaks with reporters after firing former head coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill made up his mind on Monday, firing head coach Kliff Kingsbury after four seasons.

It was a move that many expected would come down the pipeline but one not concrete given Kingsbury’s recent contract extension and all the injuries and outside noise that plagued the Cardinals this season.

At 4-13, a change was warranted, though, that didn’t make things any easier for the owner, who rewarded Kingsbury with a contract extension just 10 months prior.

“I’ve been around this organization my entire life and I don’t know any coach that has worked harder than Kliff Kingsbury,” Bidwill said Monday. “He has put in countless hours and we had a good long conversation (Monday morning).

“It was a decision that needed to be made and I wish it could have worked out better for him. In terms of putting in the effort, that’s a guy that really deserved to have the outcome we were all expecting a year ago or so.”

Now, it’s back to the drawing board for Bidwill, who has more than just his next head coach to figure out following general manager Steve Keim’s resignation — which the owner said happened last week — to focus on his health.

Gone fishin’

Bidwill wasted little time beginning his search for the next GM and head coach, saying he wants to cast his net far and wide.

Having already conducted interviews with in-house options Adrian Wilson and Quentin Harris — the two tasked with taking over for Keim during his leave of absence — and one external candidate, the owner has additional interviews lined up for the rest of the week.

From a head-coaching standpoint, Bidwill expects to interview one in-house candidate while also taking a broader look across the league.

Preferably, Bidwill would like a new GM on staff before adding a head coach to the mix, though he added the team would be afraid to hire the “right head coach.” It would allow the new executive to provide their input in the matter and help vet candidates.

The sooner the better.

“There’s an incredible sense of urgency and believe me, I’ve been on the phone and exchanging texts and messages and phone calls and getting the input of a lot of folks and trying to get a 360-degree view of a number of candidates,” the owner said.

“And we’re also not done looking at it. You know, there is no fixed list at this point. I’m trying to throw the net as far and wide as I can.”

As far as the background of a new head coach, Bidwill isn’t focused on what side of the ball they emphasize, or the fanfare attached to the name.

He just wants the right fit for an organization that hasn’t seen a head coach last longer than six seasons in more than 100 years.

“I don’t know (that) the biggest name correlates to the best coach, so I guess what I would say is I definitely want to make sure that we get the best coach and the best general manager for this team and get this team turned around as fast as we can,” Bidwill said.

Player input

At the end of the day, Bidwill gets the final verdict as to whom the team adds for both the vacant GM and head coach positions.

That’s not to say the owner isn’t taking into account the opinions of Kyler Murray, who he plans to chat with Monday or Tuesday, and other key Cardinals leaders that remain on the roster.

“I’ve spoken to a number of our players and have appointments to set up and speak with a number of our leaders in the locker room to continue the conversation to get their input and to see how we can get the Cardinals turned around,” Bidwill said. “We all thought that we would take the next step up after having achieved a playoff appearance last year. It didn’t happen.

“I expected better and we deserve better. That’s what our community wants, it’s what our fans want, it’s what the players want and it’s what everybody in this organization wants, so we’re going to proceed.”

Arizona Cardinals TE Trey McBride warms up ahead of practice on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury smiles during practice on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury smiles during practice on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals QB David Blough (left) and WR Hollywood Brown (right) smile during practice on Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR A.J. Green runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Javon Wims runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR A.J. Green runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR A.J. Green and the rest of the team's wideouts run through drills during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DE J.J. Watt looks on during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals DE J.J. Watt runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports) Arizona Cardinals WR Pharoh Cooper runs through drills during practice on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

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