Tennessee Titans hire Mike Mularkey as head coach

— -- NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have hired Mike Mularkey as head coach, the team announced Saturday.

Mularkey served as interim coach for the final nine games of 2015. All indications since the season ended were that ownership had a preference for Mularkey as the full-time head coach.

"I am honored to be named the head coach of the Titans, and I want to thank Amy, Kenneth, Steve and Jon for this opportunity," Mularkey said in a statement released by the team. "I will give all that I have to make this team successful and our city and fans proud.

"The last two months of the season were extremely valuable in order to understand our personnel and instill some of our values and standard of play, so we won't be starting from scratch. With that as a basis, we will now be installing some new systems and bringing in new coaches and players to build on what we have started. There is plenty of work to be done until we reach our goal, but we will all work tirelessly to get us there."

They did not retain general manager Ruston Webster and Thursday hired Tampa Bay executive Jon Robinson to replace him. They then interviewed four coaching candidates: Former Bills coach and current Jaguars assistant Doug Marrone, Mularkey, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and their own defensive coordinator, Ray Horton.

A news conference is scheduled on Monday to introduce both Mularkey and Robinson.

"The vision Mike presented for our football team during this search as well as the character, integrity, and leadership skills he displayed during the last two months of the season makes him the right coach for the Tennessee Titans," Titans owner and co-chairman of the board of directors Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "Mike is a quality coach and an outstanding person who will help us build this team the right way. He has experience as a head coach and a track record for developing young quarterbacks and dynamic offenses, and he also brings continuity for our franchise quarterback. We understand this may take time as we rebuild the roster and bring in new coaches for Mike's staff, but we believe he has the experience and expertise to build a consistent winner."

Mularkey is likely to make significant changes to the coaching staff he inherited when Ken Whisenhunt was fired on Nov. 3, 2015. Many of the remaining assistants have deals that expire on Feb. 15.

Three were given permission to interview and have already moved on. Shawn Jefferson is coaching receivers in  Miami, Giff Smith has taken over the defensive line in San Diego and Nate Kaczor is overseeing special teams for Tampa Bay. Horton could be in line to join the Cleveland Browns as their defensive coordinator.

Mularkey coached the Buffalo Bills in 2004-05, posting 9-7 and 5-11 records. He coached the 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars to a 2-14 mark before coming to the Titans as the tight ends coach. The Titans were 2-7 after he took over for Whisenhunt.

That's a career record of 18-39, which will make him a hard sell for a franchise that has won 5 games in the last two seasons and holds the top pick in the draft.