The Arizona Cardinals have relieved head coach Steve Wilks of his duties following Wilks' first season at the helm, the Cardinals announced Monday morning.
"I looked at the record, the lack of competitiveness... I felt it was in the best interest of the organization to go in a different direction," Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said Monday.
In January, the Cardinals hired Wilks to replace Bruce Arians, who retired after five seasons as Cardinals head coach. But the Cardinals posted a 3-13 record in 2018, matching their worst mark since they moved to Arizona in 1988.
"I didn't get it right, I take responsibility for it, and we're going to make sure we get it right this time around," Bidwill said of the hiring of Wilks and the search for a new coach.
Bidwill said the team has no timeline for hiring a new coach and will keep that search "close to the vest." But he said the fact that the Cardinals have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft should help in their search.
"The silver lining is we're going to be the first overall pick, not just in the first round but in every round... plus we have a lot of cap space," he said. "I think this is the type of opportunity that is very, very attractive for coaching candidates."
The 49-year-old Wilks served as defensive backs coach and later as defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers before being hired by the Cardinals for his first NFL head-coaching job. Several Cardinals players, including wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and cornerback Patrick Peterson, publicly expressed support for Wilks and hoped he would return next season.
Wilks becomes the fourth NFL head coach in the last five years to be fired after just one season on the job. Most recently, San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly was fired after his one and only season at the helm in 2016. One year earlier, Jim Tomsula was fired by the 49ers after just one season. In 2013, Rob Chudzinski was fired by the Cleveland Browns after his one and only season in 2013.
Bidwill noted the Cardinals dealt with a number of injuries this season, but said the team had more players miss games due to injury in 2014 when the Cardinals still managed to make the playoffs. "Every team faces injuries, and that's where the coaches make the real difference," he said.
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he takes a "great deal" of responsibility for the team's struggles, but "at the end of the day, I have the utmost confidence in myself that we're going to get this turned around."
Multiple outlets reported in recent weeks that Wilks was likely to be fired after the season. Rumored replacements for Wilks include former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
Bidwill said he and Keim will do everything they can to ensure the Cardinals aren't in this situation again.
"I never expected this, to be in this position, and we're going to make sure we don't get back here and get out of this position as quickly as possible," he said.