PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - What a difference a year makes. Arizona Cardinals assistant Mike Chiurco eyes the new year with excitement.
He returns to the NFL rejoining former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians who is taking over as the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"The majority of our friends that we were with here, we're going to be reunited with and I couldn't be happier," said Chiurco.
Chiurco will be Arian's right-hand man for a Tampa team that finished 5 and 11, stocked with talent to compete now.
"Offense, I think that will get fixed quickly. Defensively, I think we have more work to do. But we are bringing in the greatest defensive coordinator in the National Football League so, that will be fixed instantly," Chiurco said.
Cherishing his memories with the Cardinals, Chiurco was part of an amazing run with Arians that won over 50 games and made it to the NFC title game.
"Coming in and turning that around so quickly, you know we won 10 games that first year. And two years later, we're playing for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. And it was a great experience, one we'll never forget. It was a great five years here," said Chiurco.
Like many coaches, Chiurco became a victim of the NFL volatility, finding himself out of a job when Arians resigned from Arizona.
"I said to my wife the other day, almost a year to the day, I was sitting at the kitchen table with her wondering what we were going to do," said Chiurco.
But he landed on his feet as interim coach for Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler, leading the Sentinels to the second round of the playoffs and remains so grateful.
"Met with the team and thanked everyone and that was such a great experience. They embraced me, and that's an experience I will never forget," he said.
Getting back to where he wanted to be, it's his dream reuniting with Arians, former Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and other former Arizona assistants as Chiurco's trades one paradise, the desert, for the ocean!
"You know it'll be fun to be able to take a quick drive and go sit on the beach or go have dinner by the ocean somewhere. You can't get that here unless you drive about four and a half hours, so I'm excited," said Chiurco.