As a first-time head coach, DeMeco Ryans will create his own team culture based on his persona, playing experience and coaching influences. Ryans, who began his NFL career as a 2006 second-round draft pick selected by the Houston Texans, can't help but look to his first NFL head coach, Gary Kubiak, as a prime example of what he hopes to build.
"The main thing I learned about (Gary) Kubiak is how to create that first-class environment from the top down," Ryans said "That's one thing that we've been focusing on a lot for myself is just making sure everything we do throughout the building, throughout the organization is done in a first-class manner. I thought Kubiak did an excellent job of that, of changing that culture there in Houston. I thought Kubiak did an excellent job of that, and I just want to create the same."
In Kubiak's first year as an NFL head coach, Ryans earned AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 following it up with First-Team All-Pro honors after his second season. In Kubiak's second season, he guided the Texans to their first winning campaign, finishing with a 9-7 record. Four years later, Kubiak led the Texans to their first two playoff appearances in franchise history. Kubiak's coaching influence has been strong with five assistant coaches becoming head coaches, including Kyle Shanahan (2006-09), Mike McDaniel (2006-08), Matt LaFleur (2008), Vance Joseph (2011-13) and Robert Saleh (2005-10). Kubiak, now retired and living at his ranch outside of Houston, has also been instrumental in guiding Ryans, his former player, in making the transition to head coach.
"Yeah, I've talked to Coach Kubiak, and he's been outstanding when it comes to anything I need, any questions I have," Ryans said. "He's there as a shoulder for me to lean on. It's great to have a former head coach who's in a position – he's done it, won Super Bowls. He's done it at a high level, so to have him as a guy I can lean on has been very beneficial."