Head coach Ken Whisenhunt talks with Zach Mettenberger during a timeout on Sunday.

Thomas B. Shea Getty Images North America

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have fired Ken Whisenhunt after a 3-20 start, and Mike Mularkey has been named interim head coach for the rest of the season.

The Titans announced the move Tuesday morning and scheduled a news conference.

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"We have expected more progress on the field, and I felt it was time to move in a different direction," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement. "I would like to thank Ken for his efforts with our team, as he worked very hard to try to move us forward."

The Titans went 2-14 in Whisenhunt's debut season, their worst record since 1994, after going 7-9 in 2013 under Mike Munchak. Tennessee drafted Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota with the No. 2 pick overall in the draft, then named him the starter.

They won their opener 42-14 in Tampa Bay, then lost six straight for the longest skid in the NFL. Three of the losses were by a combined six points.

The latest was a 20-6 loss at struggling Houston on Sunday with Strunk and other family members watching in the town where the late Bud Adams founded this franchise. Strunk took over as controlling owner in March, replacing Tommy Smith who hired Whisenhunt in January 2014.

That was the 16th loss in 17 games for Tennessee, and the Titans also have lost their last 12 games against AFC opponents for the longest such skid by a team inside its conference in the NFL.

At 3-20, Whisenhunt's .130 winning percentage was the second-worst in franchise history, according to STATS. Only Bill Peterson was worse at 1-18 and .053 with the then-Houston Oilers, and he was fired after his fifth loss to open the 1973 season.

Mularkey arrived in Tennessee with Whisenhunt as tight ends coach and was promoted to assistant head coach this offseason. He has been a head coach with the Buffalo Bills in 2004-05 and in 2012 with Jacksonville and played nine years in the NFL with Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Mularkey also has been an offensive coordinator with Pittsburgh, Miami and Atlanta.

The Falcons had a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard receiver and 1,000-yard rusher in three of Mularkey's four seasons between 2008 and 2011.