PHOENIX — Steve Wilks is the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, and chances are he won’t tread meekly into his new job.

“Steve’s personality is as an aggressive guy,” said his ex-boss, Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera.

Wilks, 48, spent last season as defensive coordinator of the Panthers after five seasons as the team’s secondary coach. He’s been an NFL assistant for 12 years.

Wilks replaces the colorful and outspoken Bruce Arians, who retired after five seasons and compiled a franchise-record 50 victories.

With the hiring of Wilks, all three major football programs in the state have African-American coaches – Wilks, Herm Edwards at Arizona State and Kevin Sumlin at Arizona. Wilks is the Cardinals’ second African-American coach (Dennis Green was the first) and the only minority candidate to get an NFL head coaching job this hiring cycle.

The Cardinals were 8-8 last season despite a myriad of significant injuries and closed out Arians’ career with a win in Seattle.

“This is not really a rebuild, this is a retool,” Wilks told azcardinals.com. “We have the culture of winning here. We just have to be able to sustain it. It’s all about trying to get to the next level and the consistency you need to get to the next level.”

Patrick Peterson, perennial Pro Bowl cornerback and a leader of the Arizona defense, tweeted simply “I LOVE IT.”

GIANTS: Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been hired as the New York Giants head coach.

The Giants announced the hiring less than 24 hours after Shurmur and the Vikings were beaten by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game.

The 52-year-old Shurmur replaces Ben McAdoo, who was fired in early December with the team mired with a 2-10 record and owners and fans upset with his handling of the benching of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo took over for the final four games and posted a 1-3 record.

“He has an outstanding track record in developing young players, and it is clear his players respond to his guidance and direction,” co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said in a statement.

BROWNS: Hue Jackson is finally handing off his Browns offense.

Cleveland’s coach, who has handled game-planning and play-calling duties while going 1-31 over two seasons with the Browns, is hiring former Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Jackson interviewed other quality candidates but chose Haley, who spent six seasons guiding Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense before he was fired following a playoff loss last week, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Monday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the move.

A former head coach with Kansas City, Haley’s familiarity with the AFC North will be a huge plus for Jackson as he tries to turn around the Browns following a historic 0-16 season.

PANTHERS: Carolina wasted little time naming a new defensive coordinator after Wilks left to become head coach in Arizona.

Panthers Coach Ron Rivera promoted defensive line coach Eric Washington as Wilks’ replacement just hours after the hiring of Wilks became official. Rivera said after the season he had a hunch Wilks would get a head coaching job, and was prepared in the event that it happened.

Wilks’ departure means the Panthers will enter next season with three new coordinators.

Rivera fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula two days after the season and replaced him with Norv Turner. Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey was replaced by former assistant coach Chase Blackburn.

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