At the press conference announcing Gary Kubiak's dismissal, Bob McNair said a few things that could provide a clue as to who the team will pursue:
1. Ideally, McNair wants to hire "someone who has had head coaching experience, but has also had NFL experience." That would seemingly eliminate a healthy portion of potential candidates. If a guy hasn't been a head coach somewhere (though not necessarily in the NFL), he would seem to be outside McNair's optimal parameters. Additionally, if a guy has never coached on the NFL level, that would seem to work against him in McNair's mind as well.
2. While McNair noted that defensive coordinators have historically been more successful transitioning to head coaching jobs than offensive coordinators, McNair quickly qualified that observation by stating his analysis is "going to be based more on the individual." Thus, while that would seem to indicate McNair might prefer a defensive-minded head coach to replace the offensive-minded Kubiak (and teams often do replace one with the other, much like the Texans did in going from Dom Capers to Gary Kubiak), don't eliminate offensive coordinators on that basis alone. An offensive background won't be a deal-breaker.
3. Texans defensive coordinator and interim head coach Wade Phillips will be considered for the vacancy.
4. Former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith "is a good example" of someone "who [is] not coaching now that will be considered." Count on Smith getting an interview if he wants it.
John McClain of the Chronicle has a slideshow listing twelve (12) possible candidates for the Texans' head coaching vacancy, two of whom are Wade Phillips and Lovie Smith. Some of the other names featured there would seem to fly in the face of what McNair said he wanted, while others appear to be more logical fits. At this point, it's all rank speculation anyway.
Nevertheless, if I had to put together a list of guys I'd want the Texans to talk to that seem to fit McNair's expressed qualifications, I'd suggest David Shaw (Stanford head coach; also has worked as a position coach for multiple NFL teams), Bill O'Brien (Penn State head coach and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator), and Jon Gruden, with the first two intriguing me far more than Gruden.
Additionally, lack of head coaching experience be damned, I hope the Texans reach out to Darrell Bevell (Seahawks' offensive coordinator); I think Bevell has a chance to be a great fit. Greg Roman (49ers' offensive coordinator), Todd Bowles (Cardinals' defensive coordinator), and Ray Horton (Browns' defensive coordinator) could also feasibly get looks, though none of them has been a head coach before (save Bowles' brief run as the Dolphins' interim head coach after Tony Sparano got fired a few years back).
That's my list at the moment Who would be on yours? If you're feeling especially bold, go ahead and call your shot as to who the next head coach of the Houston Texans will be.