Steve Keim was promoted to General Manager on January 8, 2013 after 15 seasons in the Cardinals organization.
In two seasons since his promotion, the Cardinals have posted a 21-11 record and Keim has developed into one of the league’s most highly respected GMs. Following the 2014 campaign when Arizona tied the franchise record for wins in a season (11) and earned a spot in the postseason, Keim was named the Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year in a vote of NFL coaches and team executives. He has also earned back-to-back NFL Executive of the Year honors from the editors of Pro Football Talk (2013-14).
In his current role Keim has worked tirelessly to build the Cardinals roster. During his first year as GM in 2013, Keim executed 193 roster moves as he helped lead one of the greatest one-year turnarounds in franchise history. Following a 5-11 season in 2012, the Cardinals finished with a 10-6 record in ‘13. That five-win improvement equaled the best one-year turnaround in franchise history in a 16-game season (4-12 in ’97 to 9-7 in ’98).
Keim was even busier last season, as he dealt with a roster that was littered with injuries from top to bottom. With 21 different players missing a total of 109 games due to injury, including 14 games by QBs Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, Keim made 217 roster moves as the team tied the franchise record for wins in a season (11) and earned the team’s first postseason berth since 2009.
The 42-year old Keim originally joined Arizona in May, 1999 as a college scout in the east. He was promoted to Director of College Scouting in 2006, Director of Player Personnel in 2008, and then was promoted to Vice President, Player Personnel in May, 2012.
In his time with the team, Keim and the Cardinals have been commended for their successful draft classes, especially in recent years. Pro Bowlers Patrick Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Calais Campbell and Justin Bethel were acquired through those drafts, as were standouts such as Michael Floyd, Tyrann Mathieu, Rashad Johnson and Andre Ellington. Last season’s draft class included S Deone Bucannon and WR John Brown. Bucannon earned a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie team after appearing in all 16 games and registering 75 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble, while Brown established an NFL rookie record with four game-winning TD receptions.
Another area in which Keim has had particular success is in securing free agents. During his tenure as GM, the Cardinals free agent signings include: QBs Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, DT Frostee Rucker, CB Jerraud Powers, and O-linemen Jared Veldheer and Ted Larsen. This past offseason, Arizona signed three-time Pro Bowl G Mike Iupati, D-linemen Corey Peters and Cory Redding, and LBs Sean Weatherspoon and LaMarr Woodley.
Of the 53 players on the Cardinals roster at the end of last season, 40 were acquired by Keim during his time as GM, and Arizona will enter the 2015 season with 26 of the team’s draft picks on the roster.
Keim attended Red Land High School near Harrisburg, PA and earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from North Carolina State 1995. A two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a guard at N.C. State, Keim started 36 consecutive games at left guard for the Wolfpack. He was named the offensive freshman of the year in 1991 and was the ACC Player of the Week following the team’s victory over Maryland in November, 1994. During a standout senior season where he was also a captain, Keim was named the N.C. State offensive line MVP and won the Jim Ritcher Award for the highest graded offensive lineman in addition to being named third team All-American from Gameplan magazine.
Keim had a brief stint in pro football as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins (1996) and Edmonton Eskimos (1997) of the Canadian Football League before returning to coach at N.C. State.
He served as assistant strength and conditioning coach at his alma mater for two years, assisted the recruiting coordinator with evaluations, and served as a liaison to NFL personnel wishing to scout Wolfpack football players.
Keim resides in Chandler, AZ with his wife, Kimberly, daughter Sloane, and sons Carson, Brady and Warner.
GM Steve Keim has been successful in drafting and developing hybrid players. As the current trend continues around the NFL, Daniel Jeremiah sits down with Keim for an inside look.