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West Charlotte Alum Named Arizona Cardinals Head Coach

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Former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator, West Charlotte High School alum and Charlotte native Steve Wilks was named the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 22.

Wilks, 48, signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth season after longtime head coach Bruce Arians retired earlier this month.

“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.”

“I believe building a culture based on three things: Trust, commitment and accountability.”

Wilks started his coaching career in 1995 as a defensive coordinator at Johnson C. Smith University, going through a number of colleges before landing as an NFL assistant with the Chicago Bears in 2006.

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The Panthers hired Wilks in 2012 as a defensive backs coach. He then was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017, along with his assistant head coach role. Wilks has appeared in two Super Bowls, one with the Bears and one with the Panthers.

“You guys made the right decision,” Wilks said during his opening statement at the Cardinals press conference on Jan. 23.  “I really believe that.”

“I understand it’s a privilege,” he continued. “I’m humbled and honored to be the head coach.”

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