Ken Whisenhunt returns for his third season as offensive coordinator in his second stint in 2017.
Whisenhunt re-joined the Chargers in 2016 and the Bolts were the only team in the NFL to feature six players with at least 35 catches, 400 yards receiving and two touchdown catches. Philip Rivers threw for 4,386 yards and 33 touchdowns, tied for second-most in a season in franchise history. The Chargers stretched the field as Rivers completed a career-high 16 passes of 40 yards or longer. Tyrell Williams led the Chargers with 1,059 receiving yards and a 15.3 yards-per-catch average. And Melvin Gordon ranked 10th in the NFL with a team-leading 1,416 yards from scrimmage while tying for ninth with 12 total touchdowns.
A native of Augusta, Ga., Whisenhunt played quarterback and tight end at Georgia Tech from 1980-84. In 1985, the Falcons drafted him in the 12th round and he played nine seasons in the NFL, including four with the Falcons (1985-88), two with the Washington Redskins (1989-90) and three with the New York Jets (1991-93). He played in 74 games during his career and caught 62 passes for 601 yards and six scores.
Whisenhunt earned a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and entered the coaching field in 1995, spending two seasons (1995-96) as the special teams and tight ends coach at Vanderbilt.
In 1997, Whisenhunt landed his first NFL coaching job tutoring tight ends with Baltimore (1997-98). It led to stints with the Cleveland Browns (1999), Jets (2000) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2001-03). In 2004, Whisenhunt was named the Steelers’ offensive coordinator. At the conclusion of his second season (2005), he earned a Super Bowl ring after Pittsburgh defeated Seattle, 21-10, in Super Bowl XL. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was Whisenhunt’s star pupil in the “Steel City.”
Whisenhunt earned his first head coaching position with Arizona in 2007. He spent six seasons with the Cardinals (2007-12), winning a franchise-record 49 games. Arizona went 4-2 in the postseason and represented the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008.
Whisenhunt worked closely with Kurt Warner in Arizona. They helped lead the Cardinals to their Super Bowl appearance and back-to-back NFC West titles in 2008-09, the Cardinals’ first titles since 1975 and their first back-to-back division crowns since 1974-75. Whisenhunt became the first Cardinals coach to go .500 or better in his first six seasons with the team and the Cardinals were one of the NFL’s best home teams under Whisenhunt as they combined to go 33-18 at University of Phoenix Stadium, including 3-0 in the playoffs. The Cardinals also went 7-2 under Whisenhunt in overtime games.
Whisenhunt is in his second stint with the Chargers. He first joined the team in 2013, helping the Bolts to a 9-7 season that was followed by a win at Cincinnati in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs. Philip Rivers enjoyed one of the finest seasons of his career while working in tandem with Whisenhunt. He was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year and selected to the Pro Bowl after completing a team-record and NFL-leading 69.5 pct. of his passes for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. It all added up to a team-record tying 105.5 passer rating. Rivers completed a then-team-record 378 passes for the Chargers in 2013.
Whisenhunt left San Diego after the 2013 season to become the head coach in Tennessee. The Titans’ head coach in 2014 and for the first eight weeks in 2015, Whisenhunt helped mold quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans’ top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Whisenhunt is an avid golfer. As a teen, he worked the 18th-hole manual scoreboard at the Masters golf tournament. He’s played the course a number of times, including May 2008 when he shot an even par 72 that featured an eagle two on the par-4 11th hole. Whisenhunt contemplated a career in professional golf and after retiring as a player in 1993, he spent a year away from football and played golf extensively, including competing in the ’94 U.S. Mid-Amateur at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. Whisenhunt’s best career score is a 65 and he has made two holes in one during his lifetime.
Whisenhunt and his wife, Alice, have a son, Kenneth, Jr., and a daughter, Mary Ashley.