PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Bruce Arians will always have a special spot in the hearts and minds of Valley sports fans.
The Cardinals all-time winningest coach is in the Valley the next couple days to promote his Arians Family Foundation events. Arians will hold his final charity golf tournament in the Valley this March. On Wednesday, he was at Barrett Jackson auctioning off a boat to raise money for his foundation. Arians sat down for a one on one conversation with AZ Family.
"I wasn't going to get back in unless it was perfect."Great catching up w/ @CoachArians. The former #AZCardinals Coach in town for his farewell tour. Arians final @AriansFF golf tourny is March 22nd @WhirlwindGolf. There are still spots available. More tonight on #AZFamily pic.twitter.com/euNzxYPqRO— Mark McClune (@MarkMcClune) January 17, 2019
Q: How was "retirement?"
A: It was awesome. I really enjoyed CBS. As I kept traveling from week to week, game to game, locker room to locker room, I realized how much I missed the locker room. But, the travel was tough. Getting up at 4 a.m. to get to a home team practice and not getting back until Monday sometimes. I really enjoyed it. But it really relit a fire that I knew what I was supposed to be doing. That's being in a locker room helping young men.
Q: Back to New Year's Day 2018, when you announced your retirement from the Cardinals, how much of a chance at that point of you coming back and coaching again?
A: I didn't think any. I really didn't think any. As I recharged, got around locker rooms, going to production meetings and practices, but the thing had to be perfect. I wasn't getting back in unless it was perfect. Really just the stars aligned. The Tampa (Bay Buccaneers) job opened. It's very close to my grandchildren. Jason Licht is the (general manage), very good friend. They have a (quarterback)I know. He's been at my football camp in the 10th grade, who I really believe in. Then my entire staff is available. Everybody who walks in knows the routine. They've all worked with me or for me. This is perfect. I just got more excited as each thing happened. My wife got on board. The Bucs were smart enough to give me a complete physical, and I got a C. I got an F for 10 years, dude and I got a C, I'm ready.
Q: I heard (your wife) Christine has some stipulations for you going back?
A: Yeah, lose 30 pounds. There's a lot of drinking that goes on in retirement. There's nothing else to do (laughter). So Rick Cristophel, who was our tight ends coach, they retired right down the street from us. He said, 'I'm not drinking until the weekend.' I'd call him Wednesday, 'Want to have a beer? Yeah, I'm in.' We're getting back in the gym, and we're going to lose weight and continue this health kick that I'm on now.
Q: How much of being a coach is just part of who you are?
A: It really is. It's in my DNA. I realize I miss the Tyrann Mathieus, those type of kids, given second chances, can really become something. That's why on this earth I think.
Q: You did a lot for the CASA program?
A: That's the big thing. Our foundation is still going strong. We're so fortunate, tonight at Barrett Jackson. We're going to auction a boat off, and most of the proceeds will go towards our foundation. We'll have our golf tournament on March 22 and 23 at Wild Horse Pass. It will be the farewell tour. I tied it into the league meetings and hopefully, we'll have a bunch of head coaches come play like we did a couple years ago. Don't know if I'll get Blake Shelton to sing again like we did last time. If you can't have a good time at that one, it's your own damn fault. There are a couple spots available. That will be our last golf tournament. But our foundation will continue to serve Voices for CASA (children) in the Valley forever.
Q: Feedback from Cardinals fans. I think some were bummed you didn't come back here. They thought, if you were going to come back they wanted you to be a Cardinal. What's your message to those people?
A: We never crossed paths. This thing happened so late. I think they were way down the road. There was never an interest by either, I don't think. I was just, boop, it all happened. Five great years and I think we raised the level of expectation of where it's supposed to be. And the Red Sea is the Red Sea. I'll miss them.
Q: What are those moments that keep you up at night, good and bad?
A: I think the moments that make you smile is when a guy steps in who's not expected to play and he plays great. My next man up theory. The Tyrann Mathieus turn out to be great kids. The disappointment is Carson Palmer gets hurt. Then Drew Stanton gets hurt. Then a great moment Blaine Gabbert beats Tennesse and Jacksonville. You love that ebb and flow. 13-3, there was a lot of ebbs, not many flows.
Q: As you see the league now, the Cardinals hiring a young offensive mind. You think about your trajectory. Do you think if you would have come along at a different time it wouldn't have taken you until you were 60 to be a head coach?
A: No, I think I still was too brash and I said what I thought. There for a while, it was all defense. Now it's all offense. If you touch Sean McVay you get hired. I love Sean McVay. Sean's one of the best young coaches to ever step in this business. But everybody is not Sean. If you're really looking for a cutting edge coach, a guy who really changed the game, go to Andy Reid. He's the most innovative coach in league offensively. I wouldn't look to those young guys. I was shocked Eric Bieniemy didn't get a job this year.
Q: Andy Reid, an old kicker at Glendale Community College. You're an old running quarterback at Virginia Tech. I ask you this because we always enjoy what you have to say about quarterbacks. You have a quarterback, but the intriguing one is Kyler Murray coming out. Could his skill set translate the NFL despite his height?
A: I thought Baker Mayfield would have trouble. The thing is Oklahoma has a big offensive line. So they're used to it. He's a fantastic athlete. He can really spin the ball. I think just like Baker, I wouldn't say he can't. I haven't studied him enough. I know this, when he pulls it down, watch out.
Q: You have the Cardinals on the schedule this year in Tampa. Do you think you'll be going head-to-head with Larry Fitzgerald?
A: I hope so. You never want to see Fitz get out of the game. But it's one of those games, like, I had to play Todd (Bowles) and Chuck (Pagano). You don't look forward to that game. You just hope you win and get it over with and go to the next one.
Q: How much longer do you think you'll do this?
A: Until we win a ring or the good Lord says you can't.