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Texans hire Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator

Posted Jan 5, 2011

The Texans have hired NFL coaching veteran and Orange, Texas, native Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator, the team announced today.


The Texans have hired NFL coaching veteran and Orange, Texas, native Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator, the team announced today.

Phillips brings 35 years of coaching experience with him to the Texans, including the last 29 years spent as a defensive coordinator or head coach. In that time, Phillips has helped orchestrate 12 top-10 defensive performances and has helped lead teams to 11 playoff appearances, all of which have come since 1988. He has reached the playoffs in the first season with each of the last seven teams he has taken over as head coach or defensive coordinator.

This marks the second time Phillips and Texans head coach Gary Kubiak have been on the same sideline. Kubiak and Phillips’ tenures overlapped with the Denver Broncos from 1989-91. Kubiak played for the club from 1983-91 and Phillips served as defensive coordinator from 1989-92 before taking over as the franchise’s head coach from 1993-94.

The Texans’ new defensive coordinator also has strong ties to the city of Houston and the state of Texas. Phillips began his NFL coaching career with the Houston Oilers in 1976, serving on the staff of his father, legendary coach Bum Phillips, until 1980. The younger Phillips played linebacker at the University of Houston from 1966-68 and coached for the Cougars in 1969. He was born in Orange, Texas, and played his prep career at Port Neches-Grove High School in Port Neches. 

Phillips, 63, most recently served as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 2007 until midway through the 2010 season, compiling a 34-22 record (.607 winning pct.). Under Phillips, the Cowboys’ defense gave up an average of 329.9 yards per game to rank 10th in the NFL during his tenure and played a key role in producing three straight winning seasons from 2007-09, including two playoff appearances and the franchise’s first playoff win in 12 seasons in 2009. He owns a career coaching record of 83-66, including the postseason. 

Prior to his tenure in Dallas, Phillips served as defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers from 2004-06. The Chargers gave up fewer than 20 points per game all three years Phillips was at the helm of the defense, posted three straight winning seasons and qualified for the playoffs in 2004 and 2006.

He served as interim head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for the final three games of 2003 after joining the franchise as defensive coordinator in 2002. From 1998-2000, Phillips was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, compiling a 29-19 record and leading the team to two playoff appearances and the top overall defense in that time. Buffalo led the NFL in total defense in 1999, allowing only 266.2 yards and 14.3 points per game. Before taking the reins in Buffalo, he was the team’s defensive coordinator from 1995-97.

Phillips’ first coordinator position came with the New Orleans Saints from 1981-85. He then moved on to serve as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-88.

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