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Coaches

Wade Phillips
Defensive Coordinator
College:
University of Houston
Hometown:
Port Neches, Texas
Experience:
37

Wade Phillips is in his third season as the Houston Texans defensive coordinator. Phillips has 37 years of coaching experience, including the last 31 as a defensive coordinator or head coach. Phillips was named Texans defensive coordinator on Jan. 5, 2011.

Phillips has helped orchestrate 14 top-10 defensive performances and has helped lead teams to 13 playoff appearances, all of which have come since 1988, as a head coach or defensive coordinator.

He has reached the playoffs in his first season with each of the last eight teams he has taken over as head coach or defensive coordinator, including the Houston Texans in 2011. Phillips’ defense helped the Texans win a franchise-record 12 games in 2012 and make their second consecutive trip to the playoffs.

Wade Phillips is in his third season as the Houston Texans defensive coordinator. Phillips has 37 years of coaching experience, including the last 31 as a defensive coordinator or head coach. Phillips was named Texans defensive coordinator on Jan. 5, 2011.

Phillips has helped orchestrate 14 top-10 defensive performances and has helped lead teams to 13 playoff appearances, all of which have come since 1988, as a head coach or defensive coordinator.

He has reached the playoffs in his first season with each of the last eight teams he has taken over as head coach or defensive coordinator, including the Houston Texans in 2011. Phillips’ defense helped the Texans win a franchise-record 12 games in 2012 and make their second consecutive trip to the playoffs.

The 2012 Texans defense, led by Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, ranked in the League’s top ten in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, sacks and third-down defense. The second-year defensive end put together what Phillips called simply the “best season ever,” leading the NFL with 20.5 sacks, batting down 16 passes, forcing four fumbles and recovering two en route to becoming the franchise’s first-ever player of the year award winner.

Phillips earned recognition as the PFW/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011 after the Texans’ defense finished second in the NFL with 285.7 yards allowed per game. Phillips installed a 3-4 scheme that yielded the third-largest single-year improvement since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, flipping a unit that gave up 379.6 yards per game and ranked 31st in the NFL in 2010.

Phillips’ current post with the Texans marks the second time he and 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.

Phillips, 66, 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. His NFL coaching career began in Houston, with the Oilers in 1976, serving on the staff of his father, legendary coach Bum Phillips, until 1980.

The Texans’ defensive coordinator has strong ties to the city of Houston and the state of Texas, coaching at the high school, collegiate and professional levels in the Lone Star State. He was born in Orange, Texas and played his prep career at Port Neches-Grove High School in Port Neches. Phillips played linebacker at the University of Houston from 1966-68 and coached for the Cougars in 1969.

Phillips returned to his roots from 1970-72, serving as the defensive coordinator at Orange (Texas) High School. In 1973, he joined the Oklahoma State University staff, coaching linebackers for two seasons. Phillips was then hired to coach the defensive line at Kansas in 1975, his last season coaching in the college ranks.

Phillips and wife Laurie have one son, Wesley, who is the tight ends coach with the Dallas Cowboys, and a daughter, Tracy, who is a professional actress, dancer and choreographer in Hollywood, Calif. He resides in Houston and is the only member of the Texans’ coaching staff on Twitter (@sonofbum).

PHILLIPS’ COACHING LEDGER
2011-13: Defensive Coordinator, Houston Texans
2007-10:  Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys
2004-06:  Defensive Coordinator, San Diego Chargers
2002-03:  Defensive Coordinator, Atlanta Falcons
1998-2000:  Vice President of Football Operations/Head Coach, Buffalo Bills
1995-97:  Defensive Coordinator, Buffalo Bills
1993-94:  Head Coach, Denver Broncos
1989-92: Defensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos
1986-88: Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles
1981-85: Defensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints
1977-80: Defensive Line, Houston Oilers
1976: Linebackers, Houston Oilers
1975: Defensive Line, University of Kansas
1973-74: Linebackers, Oklahoma State
1970-72: Defensive Coordinator, Orange High School
1969: Graduate Assistant, University of Houston

Related Videos

  • Extended Cut: Wade Phillips

    (6:12) Posted Dec 12, 2013

    Interim head coach Wade Phillips met with the media on Thursday after practice and gave an update on Owen Daniels and much more.

  • Extended Cut: Wade Phillips on Monday

    (11:57) Posted Dec 9, 2013

    Interim head coach Wade Phillips met with the media on Monday afternoon and covered a wide range of topics.

  • Extended Cut: Wade Phillips

    (6:35) Posted Nov 7, 2013

    Interim head coach Wade Phillips spoke with the Houston media after Thurday's practice.

  • 1-on-1 with Wade Phillips

    (3:26) Posted May 18, 2013

    Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips went 1-on-1 with Patti Smith during Fox Sports Southwest's 'Texans Huddle'.