The Tennessee Titans have fired Ken Whisenhunt less than two years into his tenure as the team's coach.
The Titans announced the decision Tuesday, promoting assistant head coach/tight ends coach Mike Mularkey to interim coach after the team's 1-6 start.
"After thoughtful consideration, the decision has been made to relieve Ken Whisenhunt of his head coaching duties," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "We have expected more progress on the field, and I felt it was time to move in a different direction. I would like to thank Ken for his efforts with our team, as he worked very hard to try to move us forward."
Interim Titans president and CEO Stave Underwood said during a news conference that Strunk had been considering the move for several weeks.
"She and I have had any number of conversations about it," Underwood said. "She was in almost daily communication with Ken and [GM] Ruston Webster. I think she's been to every single game at home or on the road. She follows the team for hours every day. ...
"Having been around the business for most of her life, I think it was something she decided as a process not an event."
Underwood said he and Webster, who was not at the news conference, delivered the news to Whisenhunt on Wednesday morning
Whisenhunt's unwillingness to make changes to his offensive scheme played a hefty role in his firing after going 3-20 with the Titans after signing a five-year contract prior to the 2014 season.
"My family and I are grateful for our time in Nashville and my opportunity to work for the Titans," Whisenhunt said in a statement. "I am sorry we weren't able to get it done in our time here. Our players and staff were great to work with and I want to thank them for their dedication and hard work. I also want to thank the fans for their support and I wish the organization success moving forward."
Mularkey, who interviewed with Underwood in 2010 before the Titans promoted Mike Munchak to replace Jeff Fisher, acknowledged being surprised by the Titans' decision. However, he said it was time to "turn the page."
"As a position coach, coordinator and head coach, my philosophy has always been the same: Be a tough, physical football team now," Mularkey said. "That was my role with the tight ends. That's their No. 1 thing.
"Secondly, don't beat yourself. That's the biggest thing in this business. If you turn the ball over, penalties, mental errors, things like that. That's the one thing I've been very proud of in my history. We've done a very good job of not doing that."
Fisher, who coached the Titans for more than 16 years, talked about his former team firing its coach Tuesday.
"In general, it's hard," he said. "I mean, it's not the first one this year. It's just hard. That's part of our business. It happens all the time. It's unfortunate. Ken (Whisenhunt) is an outstanding coach. They're playing a young quarterback and they've had some injuries. Those things happen."
Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard told ESPN that he was "very surprised" when he heard the news of Whisenhunt's firing.
"I felt Wiz had a good relationship with the players, and he kept all of us working hard to try and turn things around here," he said.
Titans cornerback Perrish Cox tweeted his support for Whisenhunt, calling him a "good coach."
For anyone who wants to kno, no i am NOT happy with wiz gone, he was a good coach, he wznt the prob and we all know it!! #frustrating— Perrish Cox (@pcox16) November 3, 2015
The Titans have lost six straight games since their season-opening victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and have dropped 16 of their last 17 overall.
Tennessee has also lost its last 12 games against AFC opponents after a 20-6 loss Sunday to the Houston Texans, the longest active streak of losses to conference opponents in the NFL.
The Titans went 2-14 last season, allowing them to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota at No. 2 overall.
Information from ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner and The Associated Press was used in this report.