HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans hired DeMeco Ryans as their new coach Tuesday, who will serve as a quarterback for the first time and return to where his playing career began.
Ryans will come to the Texans from the San Francisco 49ers, where he spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator.
The source spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the hiring has not been officially announced.
The deal will give Ryans his first head coaching job and bring him back to where his playing career began.
He replaces Lovie Smith, fired after just one season, in which the team went 3-13-1.
Ryans issued a statement thanking 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch for their experience in San Francisco. He added that he was now looking for a new opportunity with the Texans.
“Being the head coach of the Houston Texans is my dream job. My family is delighted to be back,” Ryans said. “I have been around football my entire life and have always had a natural ability to guide others. I know what it takes to win and be successful in this league, as a player and as a coach.
“We are going to build a program full of players who have a special work ethic and a strong mentality. I understand the responsibility I have to this organization and to the fans of Houston to build a winning team. I’m looking forward to starting the job.”
Liked by fans as a player, Ryans could help Houston win back the support of a public disenchanted with the direction of the team, which has endured three disastrous seasons since winning the AFC South in 2018 and 2019.
JJ Watt, Houston’s most famous former player, seems to support the decision. The recently retired defensive end tweeted a photo of himself with the Ryans when they both played for the Texans.
Cal McNair, the team’s owner, vowed to get more involved in this signing after the Texans fired their last two coaches after just one season. David Culley lost the job after managing the team in the 2021 season, prior to Smith’s hiring.
“For many reasons, DeMeco is everything we look for in a leader and coach in our organization,” McNair said. “He has a proven track record of developing high-quality players and constantly innovating his defensive scheme over the last three seasons in San Francisco.”
Ryans is the third black coach the team has hired in a row. The Texans faced criticism for firing two black quarterbacks after just one season on starless rosters.
This season, Ryans led an NFL-leading San Francisco defense, allowing an average of just 300.6 yards per game.
The 49ers were particularly effective at stopping the runs. They ranked second in the league by holding teams to an average of 77.7 yards. That’s a world of difference from what happened to the Texans’ run defense.
Houston was last in the NFL for that category, accepting an average of 170.2 yards this season.
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Texans hire DeMeco Ryans as coach