Kliff Kingsbury fired by Cardinals, Steve Keim steps down

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been fired and GM Steve Keim is stepping down, the Arizona Cardinals announced Monday.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 9:57 AM MST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2023 at 5:59 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Arizona Cardinals fired head coach Kliff Kingsbury on Monday, the day after the team’s season came to a close with a 38-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The team also announced that GM Steve Keim has decided to leave his role in order to focus on his health after taking an indefinite leave of absence in December.

The changes come following a disappointing year for the Cards with a final record of 4 wins and 13 losses, ending with a 7-game losing streak. Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill discussed the shakeup on Monday afternoon. “What happened is we were making progress through the first three seasons and then we really regressed this year,” Bidwill said. “I think we got to a point where it was just time to go in a different direction.”

Bidwill said the search has begun for a new general manager and head coach. “We are going to cast the net far and wide, doing it differently than we’ve done in the past,” he said, adding that he’s already been on calls setting up interviews. Bidwill says they’ll be looking within and outside the organization, noting that he’s already interviewed two internal candidates for GM: Adrian Wilson, vice president of pro personnel, and Quentin Harris, vice president of player personnel. Both Harris and Wilson also played for the Cardinals during their NFL careers and were filling in for Keim during his leave.

Kingsbury was hired almost four years ago to the day in January 2019, not long after he was fired from Texas Tech. He had no prior NFL coaching experience. During Kingsbury’s four seasons as head coach, the team had an overall record of 28-37-1. The Cardinals had one playoff appearance during that time in the 2021 season.

“I’ve been around this organization my entire life and I don’t know any coach that has worked harder than Kliff Kingsbury. He has put in countless hours,” Bidwill said. “I wish it could have worked out better for him because, in terms of putting in the effort, there’s a guy that really deserved to have the outcome we were all expecting a year ago or so.”

Kingsbury and Keim signed a five-year extension with the organization before the season started. “We all thought over the prior three seasons that we would take the next step up, after having achieved a playoff appearance last year. It didn’t happen,” Bidwill said.

The Cardinals were ravaged by injuries this season. Quarterback Kyler Murray had surgery after tearing his ACL in December, which could keep him sidelined through mid-next season. Tight end Zach Ertz suffered a season-ending knee injury in November and safety Budda Baker fractured his shoulder during a game on Christmas Day. “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” Bidwill said. “We need to recover from these injuries, get back to focusing on, what are the things we need to be doing to win the NFC West.”

Bidwill hopes to have a new GM in place before landing on a head coach.