HOUSTON -- As a ball boy for the Houston Oilers more than 25
years ago, Gary Kubiak never thought he would eventually coach the
team that replaced them.
But he long vowed that he would return to Houston. On Thursday
he did, and was introduced as the second coach of the Houston Texans.
"I always told my mom and dad I would be home someday," he
said. "I think they started not to believe me after a while. But I
finally made it back."
Kubiak, who spent the last 11 years as Denver's offensive
coordinator, inherits a team that had a league-worst 2-14 record
last season, costing Dom Capers his job. Kubiak reportedly signed a
five-year contract worth about $10 million.
"I won't let you down. I promise you that," he told team owner
Bob McNair after being introduced as coach. "The No. 1 thing is to
have expectations. My dream is to see this city win a championship,
and I am confident that we can get that done."
The Texans formally interviewed six candidates, including four
offensive coordinators, but Kubiak, who has never been a head coach
at any level, emerged as the front-runner quickly.
"It became obvious during the interviews that there was one
person that really fit our situation and that was Gary," McNair
Kubiak, who grew up in Houston and is a former Texas A&M
quarterback, played for Texans consultant Dan Reeves and backed up
John Elway from 1983-91.
He said he hasn't evaluated Southern California running back
Reggie Bush or Texas quarterback Vince Young, but that he's excited
about getting to work on deciding whom the Texans will pick with
the No. 1 draft choice.
Though he didn't have much to say about possible draft
decisions, he said plenty about Houston quarterback David Carr, the
top pick in the 2002 draft.
"I'll find a way to make him successful because it's in him,"
Kubiak said. "I'm a David Carr fan. I like the skills he has.
There is no reason that David shouldn't be a successful
McNair agreed and said he thinks Carr can take the Texans to the
Super Bowl, but that doesn't mean drafting Young is out of the
"We're going to look at any and all options," McNair said.
"Whether it's keeping the pick or trading or whatever."
The Texans must decide by the Pro Bowl if they want to pick up
the option on Carr's contract to keep him with the team.
Kubiak also must assemble a staff and meet the Texans players.
He said he hasn't talked to any of the players so far.
Kubiak briefly coached at Texas A&M before joining Mike Shanahan
on George Seifert's staff in San Francisco in 1994. With Shanahan
as the offensive coordinator and Kubiak as the quarterbacks coach,
the 49ers won the Super Bowl and Steve Young was named the MVP.
Shanahan became Broncos coach the following season and took
Kubiak with him. Since then, the Broncos have had one of the
league's top 10 offenses in 10 of 11 seasons and won two Super
Bowls. The Broncos ranked fifth in total offense in 2005.
Kubiak was a candidate for the job the first time around and was
interviewed in 2001 before the Texans picked Capers.
McNair said he felt Kubiak wasn't ready to be a head coach then,
but this time he was exactly what the Texans wanted.
McNair, along with Reeves and general manager Charley Casserly,
agreed that the team needed to make improving the passing game a
priority and that the Texans wanted a coach with an "aggressive
"Gary is the kind of person that can elevate the play of our
players," McNair said.
Kubiak vividly remembers sitting in the old Astrodome, which now
sits sadly in the shadow of the dazzling Reliant Stadium, and
cheering for the Oilers.
But he said those memories will now be overshadowed by the
thrill of becoming the Texans coach.
"That was exciting, but today is off the charts," he said with
a smile. "It just really hit me that hey it's for real. This is