Arizona Cardinals make Carolina Panthers DC Steve Wilks new coach


TEMPE, Ariz. — The Cardinals will make Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks their next head coach, a league source confirmed to ESPN on Monday.

The move ends Arizona’s search exactly three weeks after it began when former coach Bruce Arians retired on Jan. 1.

Wilks, 48, has been an NFL assistant since 2006, most recently spending the last six seasons with the Panthers. In 2017, he was their defensive coordinator after two seasons as the assistant head coach and defensive backs coach.

Since 2012, Wilks’ first season as Carolina’s secondary coach, the Panthers were sixth in the NFL with 96 interceptions. Who was first? The Cardinals with 108.

Wilks ran a 4-3 defense in Carolina that was blitz-happy. The Panthers had the second-highest blitz rate in the NFL this season at 44.0 percent.

Wilks played at Appalachian State from 1987 to 1991, and attended the Seattle Seahawks‘ training camp in 1992 before playing defensive back and wide receiver for the Charlotte Rage of the Arena Football League in 1993. He began his coaching career two years later at Johnson C. Smith University in 1995.

This is the second straight year Carolina has lost its defensive coordinator. Sean McDermott was named the head coach at Buffalo last offseason and led the Bills to the playoffs in his first season. Wilks was promoted from secondary coach/assistant head coach to coordinator.

Look for the Panthers to promote defensive line coach Eric Washington to replace Wilks, according to a league source. ESPN

ESPN’s David Newton contributed to this report.

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