Bruce Arians, who led the Indianapolis Colts to an 11-5 record while as an interim head coach, was hired Thursday as the Arizona Cardinals head coach, the team announced Thursday.
Arians, 60, filled in for Colts coach Chuck Pagano who spent most of the season undergoing treatment for leukemia.
He fills the final position among eight NFL head coaching jobs that opened up this month. The Cardinals fired head coach Ken Whisenhunt after the season when the team finished 5-11.
"I have a pretty good job sitting back in Indianapolis," Arians told the Arizona Republic earlier in the day. "Do I want to be a head coach? Definitely. But just to be one? No."
Under Arians for 12 games, the Colts compiled a 9-3 record. Because of that he was named Coach of the Year and Assistant Coach of the Year by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America.
The Colts' nine-win improvement from 2011 (2-14) tied for the third-largest single-season turnaround in NFL history.
Arians also interviewed for the Chicago Bears opening that was given to Marc Trestman.
The Cardinals were looking for an offensive-minded coach and Arians fits the bill. He tutored Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Colts rookie Andrew Luck. Luck threw for the most passing yards (4,374 yards) by a rookie in NFL history.
"I've gone through this so many different times at different places," Arians said. "I think guys can improve, guys can be coached to be better. There's a door number two somewhere. Is that a better option for our organization? We would make that decision."
Arians had been head coach in college football, leading Temple from 1983-88.
Arians said he would call offensive plays if he was hired. As for defense, Arians said earlier he it was too early to make that call.
The Cardinals still have defensive coordinator Ray Horton under contract. Horton also was a candidate for the head-coaching position.
"Guys are under contract," he said. "You can't really comment on staff members at this time."