Bruce Arians was named Arizona’s head coach on January 17, 2013 when he signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth.
He joined the Cardinals after spending the 2012 season as the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, while also serving 12 games as interim head coach during Chuck Pagano’s absence while being treated for leukemia. For his work with the Colts, Arians was selected as the 2012 AP NFL Coach of the Year after leading Indianapolis to a 9-3 record and helping the Colts clinch a playoff berth while tying the NFL record for most wins ever by an interim coach.
Indy’s nine-win improvement over its 2011 total (2-14 to 11-5) matched the third-largest single-season turnaround in NFL history. The Colts went through the 2012 season without consecutive losses and were 9-1 in games decided by one score or less.
Arians helped a Colts offense that finished 10th in the NFL (362.4 ypg) in total offense and 7th in passing (258 ypg) and featured rookies that combined 3,108 yards rushing and receiving, the most of any team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger according to STATS LLC. The Colts completed 65 passes of 20 yards or more last season, ranking third in the NFL (Detroit-67, New Orleans-66).
Pro Bowl rookie QB Andrew Luck, the first overall selection in the 2012 draft, set NFL rookie single-season records for the most passing yards (4,374), most attempts (627), 300-yard passing games (six) and also set the NFL single-game rookie record for most passing yards (433 yards, 11/4 vs. Miami). Luck finished third on the NFL's rookie list for TD passes (23) and set the franchise record for rushing TDs by a quarterback (five). His quarterback rating of 76.5 also was a franchise rookie record, breaking Johnny Unitas’ previous mark (74.0) and Peyton Manning’s rating (71.2) as a rookie. He led the Colts on seven game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or OT, the most by a rookie QB since the 1970 merger.
Veteran WR Reggie Wayne finished sixth in the NFL with 106 receptions and seventh in the league with 1,355 yards. Rookie TE Dwayne Allen set a team rookie position record with 45 receptions and fellow rookie WR TY Hilton led all NFL rookie receivers with seven TD catches and five 100-yard receiving games. Hilton’s 861 receiving yards were the second-most by a rookie in Colts franchise history.
Prior to working with the Colts, Arians spent eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, five as offensive coordinator (2007-2011) and three as wide receivers coach (2004-2006). During his tenure as offensive coordinator, the Steelers recorded a 55-25 record, tied with the Packers for the second-best mark in the NFL in that span. Pittsburgh won three AFC North Division titles, two AFC Championships and earned a victory in Super Bowl XLIII over the Cardinals. Arians was also part of the Steelers Super Bowl XL win as the team’s wide receivers coach.
Arians was instrumental in the development of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, helping him become the second-youngest quarterback to win two Super Bowls (26 years, 336 days). From 2007-2011, Roethlisberger averaged 247.4 net passing yards per game, which ranked eighth in the NFL and fifth in the AFC. In 2007, Roethlisberger got elected to his first Pro Bowl as he broke Terry Bradshaw’s team record for touchdown passes in a season (32). Roethlisberger also finished that season with a team-record passer rating of 104.1.
In 2009, the Steelers offense became the first in team history to boast a 4,000-yard passer (Roethlisberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward) and a 1,000-yard rusher (Rashard Mendenhall) in the same season. The team also broke franchise records for passing first downs (210) and passes completed (351).
Arians helped wide receiver Hines Ward develop into one of the top receivers in the game. In his eight seasons with Arians, Ward was selected to the 2004 Pro Bowl and was named Super Bowl XL MVP after finishing with 123 receiving yards and a touchdown. Ward also became the Steelers all-time receptions leader, surpassing Hall of Famer John Stallworth, and in 2007 became the team’s career leader in receiving yards and TD receptions. In 2010, Ward became the first receiver in Steelers history and fifth in NFL history to reach 11,000 career receiving yards.
In his first season in Pittsburgh (2007), Arians helped the Steelers rank third in the NFL in rushing (2,168 yards) and running back Willie Parker finished fourth in the league with 1,316 rushing yards that season, earning a Pro Bowl selection.
Prior to joining the Steelers, Arians spent three seasons (2001-2003) as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. In 2002 under his guidance, the Browns scored their most points (344) since 1987 and also improved in virtually every major offensive category.
In his first stint with the Colts, Arians spent three seasons (1998-2000) as the team’s quarterback coach, working under offensive coordinator Tom Moore. Arians tutored Peyton Manning in his first three seasons in the league and helped him get selected to the Pro Bowl in his second and third seasons (1999-2000) with Indianapolis. In 2000, Manning set then team single-season records for passing yards (4,413), completions (357), 300-yard games (5), and touchdown passes (33). His 33 TD passes that season established a Colts franchise record previously held by Johnny Unitas (1959).
Arians’ first job in the NFL was with Kansas City as the team’s running backs coach for four seasons (1989-92). With the Chiefs, Arians tutored running back Christian Okoye as he was selected to two Pro Bowls (1989, 1991). Okoye led the league in both rushing attempts (370) and rushing yards (1,480) during the 1989 season and also rushed for 1,031 yards in 1991. He later served as the tight ends coach with the New Orleans Saints in 1996.
Arians spent six seasons as the head coach at Temple University (1983-1988).
Arians began his coaching career in 1975 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater and then was elevated to running backs coach. From 1978-80, he coaches RBs and WRs at Mississippi State before moving within the SEC to Alabama where he worked under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He coached Crimson Tide running backs for two seasons (1981-82) before becoming one of the youngest head coaches in Division I history when Temple University hired him in 1983 at the age of 30. He spent six seasons coaching the Owls but was let go following the 1988 season. Eight stops and two-plus decades later he became a head coach again when he earned the job in Arizona.
As a collegiate quarterback at Virginia Tech (1972-74) Arians was voted the team’s MVP as a senior. He finished his college career with 78 completions on 174 attempts for 1,270 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions in addition to rushing for 539 yards and 14 touchdowns on 135 carries.
A native of Paterson, NJ, Arians grew up in York, PA where he met his wife, Christine. The couple have two children - son, Jake, and daughter, Kristi Anne. Arians also has a granddaughter named Presley.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians stops by NFL Total Access to give his thoughts on the current NFL playoff system and hints at which players he will be targeting in free agency and the draft.