Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt will interview Monday for Georgia Tech’s head-coaching job, according to NBC’s Al Michaels, who offered the news during the broadcast of the Chargers-Steelers game Sunday night.
Whisenhunt is a Tech grad and was a teammate of athletic director Todd Stansbury in the early 1980’s. Whisenhunt has coached in the NFL since 1997 and has coordinated the Chargers offense since 2016.
People familiar with Stansbury’s thinking believe that he will interview additional candidates. Tech’s interest in Whisenhunt has created an uproar among Tech fans, deeming him a poor choice because of his lack of experience at the college level, among other reasons.
Whisenhunt has enjoyed success throughout his career – as a head coach, he led the Arizona Cardinals to their only Super Bowl berth in the 2008 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl in the 2005 season with Whisenhunt serving as coordinator.
The Chargers rank fifth in total offense this season, were fourth in 2017 and 14th in his first season back with the team in 2016.
However, Whisenhunt has not been in the college game in two decades after coaching for two seasons at Vanderbilt 1995-96. He was fired from both of his head-coaching jobs. With the Cardinals, he had two winning seasons in a six-year tenure and his best record was 10-6. He was head coach of the Tennessee Titans for 1 ½ seasons 2014-15 and was 3-20 before he was dismissed.
At the news conference last Wednesday for coach Paul Johnson to address his decision to step down after 11 seasons, Stansbury emphasized fit and an innovative approach in describing what he was looking for in a coach.
“I think (fit) is even probably more so important at a place like Georgia Tech that is unique and so because it’s not a plug-and-play type job where you can’t just take somebody that’s been successful at one place and automatically assume they’re going to be successful here at Georgia Tech,” Stansbury said. “It’s really important to find somebody that knows themselves, understands that they are at a different place and has a plan on, O.K, how are you going to take maybe what you’ve done before and strategically implement it in a way that can be successful here.”
He said that factors such as prior head-coaching experience, school ties and scheme are all variables.
“I think it’s looking for the best coach for Georgia Tech,” he said. “There’s going to be so many variables you’re going to balance – head-coaching experience, experience at specific programs and/or coaching trees – and all those kinds of things, I don’t think that I can really put any more value on one attribute of a coach to another just because there are so many things that go into being a great head coach that I think you’ve got to look at it all.”