Texans introduce Kubiak as coach
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 said.
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 quarterback."
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 question.
"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 philosophy."
"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 very special."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press