CHARLOTTE – Steve Wilks, who just completed his first season as Carolina's defensive coordinator, is leaving to become head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals announced the hire Monday.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera promoted Wilks to defensive coordinator following the 2016 season after Sean McDermott departed to become head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
Wilks – a product of West Charlotte High School – spent the last six seasons with the Panthers, the first five as secondary coach. The 48-year-old has long been eager for the opportunity to prove himself as an NFL head coach.
Wilks' attack-minded, blitz-heavy defense finished seventh overall in total defense (317.1 yards per game) and 11th in scoring (20.4 points per game) this year.
In Arizona, Wilks takes over the post previously held by Bruce Arians, who retired at the conclusion of the 2017 season.