Colts players confirm to Eyewitness News that Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians has agreed to become head coach of Arizona Cardinals.
The team confirmed the hiring in a release Thursday night. A news conference is scheduled Friday to formally introduce Arians, who received a four-year contract with a club option for a fifth year.
The 60-year-old longtime assistant went 9-3 as Colts interim head coach while Chuck Pagano was undergoing treatment for leukemia last season.
In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said Arians has proven he can do it.
"Kept our eyes on the prize. He kept us focused on the process. I'm sad to see him go, but I'm happy at the same time, because every coach finally wants to be a head coach and he's getting that opportunity," said Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
Arians is an offensive genius. He loves to take chances and go for the big play. That's why the Colts loved working with him.
Wayne says it is a big loss for Indianapolis.
"They're going to love him, man. They're going to absolutely love him. He is what you want as a player to be the coach," Wayne said.
Arians arrived in Arizona on Wednesday night, had dinner with top team officials, then interviewed on Thursday and met with reporters to indicate his extreme interest in the job. He was offered and accepted the job Thursday night.
"I'm pretty bummed. I thought this was going to be the last offense I'd learn in my career, but I guess it's not. Guess I've got some decisions to make," Wayne laughed. "But at the same time, it's well deserved. It's well deserved. He deserves that right. He did a great job with us this year and proven that he's worthy of the job. Just taking over for Coach Pagano, taking a team that could have really tanked it and could have made all the excuses in the world why we weren't successful."
Arians also was a finalist for the Chicago job that went to Marc Trestman.
He was the sixth known candidate interviewed to replace Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after six seasons.
After an interview Thursday, Arians said his stint as Pagano's replacement, in his words, "answered all questions I ever had" about whether he could succeed as an NFL coach.
Arians has been a football coach since his days as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in 1975 and has 20 years of experience as an NFL assistant. He also was head coach at Temple for five seasons.
Arians told reporters earlier Thursday that "Coaching is all about relationships. As long as it's built on trust, loyalty, and respect, anything is possible."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)