In 2020, the Houston Texans were the first team to fire their head coach and the last team to hire a new head coach. This netted them David Culley, who was fired after a 4-13 season. A year later, the Texans weren’t the first team to fire their head coach; Jon Gruden and the Raiders won that honor. Nevertheless, the Texans stand with the New Orleans Saints as the last teams to hire a new head coach.
This past weekend, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was named the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, bringing Kyle Shanahan’s wide zone play action attack with him to Florida. Immediately the pot began to stir.
One of the three finalists for the Texans vacancy, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, was reportedly informed he wouldn’t be named the head coach of the Houston Texans.
Multiple league sources have either been told or seen notification —and shared with me—Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon was informed, as of yesterday, he would not be receiving the head coach job for the #Texans, at said time. The process is ongoing.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 6, 2022
Despite Gannon’s great interviews and desire to play the same two high shells that have taken over the league, he didn’t receive the key to the treasure chest.
Then there were two—Brian Flores and Josh McCown. But a bomb was dropped. Houston reportedly hasn’t been talking with Flores recently, though he interviewed twice. Josh McCown either turned down the Texans’ offer or the organization finally came to the realization that hiring someone who doesn’t have a single year of coaching experience in college or the NFL was too audacious to defend.
Texans were not rejected by former NFL quarterback Josh McCown who won't be their head coach, per league sources. If offered the job, sources predicted McCown would have accepted. Search took a different turn toward Lovie Smith, the veteran coach now in the lead— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 7, 2022
Suddenly, the Texans found themselves with zero candidates left. So a familiar face came to the forefront.
Texans to meet with Lovie Smith for formal interview, per league sources. If all goes smoothly, former Bears and Buccaneers and Illinois coach has excellent chance to land the job. No recent contact with Brian Flores, who had two interviews with Texans.— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 7, 2022
Yeah? I have a girlfriend, but you don’t know her; she goes to another school.
No one has any idea what the truth is outside of NRG Park.
Without any candidates left on the table since they started this excursion back into the unknown, the Texans have decided to look within. Lovie Smith is now going to formally interview for the Texans’ head coaching vacancy. And since no one else appears to be left as a viable candidate, it looks like Lovie Smith is going to be the next head coach of the Houston Texans.
Texans to interview Lovie Smith for head coach opening https://t.co/3KREa9nGKu) via @houstonchron— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) February 7, 2022
Texans' coaching staff, if Lovie Smith is retained, sources expect staff to include Frank Ross as special teams coordinator, and Pep Hamilton, who interviewed for Giants and Bears' OC jobs, to be promoted to offensive coordinator— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) February 7, 2022
Lovie has been in the NFL for 42 years. He was the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams during their early 2000s Super Bowl run and then became the head coach of the Chicago Bears, taking them to one Super Bowl while constantly being dragged down by Chicago’s offense. After being let go in Chicago, Lovie lasted two seasons as the head coach in Tampa Bay, going 8-24 before moving back to Illinois to be the head coach of the University of Illinois. Last season in Houston, Lovie ran a banal Cover 2 defense that was picked apart until he eventually learned other coverage schemes to run and disguise what Houston was doing.
After eight years of coaching downtrodden teams, it looks like Smith is going to get his third chance to be the head coach of a NFL franchise. Expect a formal announcement shortly.
UPDATE: The Texans are finalizing a contract with Lovie Smith. Final word should be coming any minute.
UPDATE II: It’s official. Lovie Smith is now the head coach of the Texans.