The Houston Texans have hired Lovie Smith as the team's fifth head coach in franchise history. The Texans also promoted Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator and retained Frank Ross as special teams coordinator.
"I am excited to introduce Lovie Smith as our next head coach," said Texans General Manager Nick Caserio. "He is one of the most respected coaches in the NFL and an established leader. A proven winner, Lovie has shown the ability to develop players both on and off the field for years. We had numerous discussions with countless coaches, executives, and players, and what revealed itself is that Lovie has both the leadership and people skills it takes to lead us forward. We both understand how much work is in front of us, but we embrace the responsibility and look forward to continuing to build a program that can have sustained success."
"I want to first thank Nick Caserio and the McNair family for giving me this opportunity," said Smith. "I'm humbled to be the next head coach of the Houston Texans and incredibly excited to continue to work with Nick. I have so many friends, family, teammates and coaches to thank for supporting me and helping me continue to do what I love, which is teaching and developing players. I understand the responsibility I have to this organization and this city to develop a championship-level program. I'm ready to get to work and build it together."
"The last couple of seasons have been disappointing, but I believe in the vision Nick Caserio has for our football team moving forward and I see the pieces coming together," said Texans Chair and Chief Executive Officer Cal McNair. "Our goal here is to create an environment that's conducive to winning on a day-to-day basis and compete for championships. I've had an extreme amount of respect for Lovie for years now and that only grew with the work he did last season and throughout this process. I'm excited for him and his family as we continue to evolve as an organization."
Smith recently completed his first season as the Texans' defensive coordinator after joining the team prior to the 2021 season. Smith has 20 total seasons of NFL coaching experience, including 11 as a head coach, in addition to 21 years of experience at the high school and collegiate level. In Smith's first season leading the Texans' defense in 2021, Houston recorded 25 total takeaways, tied for 10th in the NFL, while intercepting 3.1 percent of opponent passing attempts, the fifth-highest rate in the league.
Smith joined the Texans after serving as head coach at the University of Illinois for five seasons (2016-20), leading the Illini to a Redbox Bowl berth following the 2019 season. Smith arrived in Illinois after serving as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons (2014-15), where he helped the Buccaneers finish 10th in the NFL in total defense (340.4 ypg) during the 2015 season.
Prior to his time in Tampa, Smith spent nine seasons (2004-12) as the head coach of the Chicago Bears. During Smith's tenure, Chicago won three NFC North titles, appeared in two NFC Championship games and played in Super Bowl XLI following the 2006 season. Under Smith's guidance, the Bears led the NFL in takeaways (310) and third-down defense (34.1 percent) while ranking fourth in scoring defense (17.9 points per game). Smith was named the 2005 NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press after leading Chicago to a divisional title and an 11-5 record despite starting the season 1-3.
Smith came to Chicago after serving as the defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams from 2001-03, adding the title of assistant head coach during his final season with the Rams. From 1996-2000, Smith worked as the linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith began his coaching career at Big Sandy (Texas) High School in 1980 before moving to Cascia Hall Prep in Tulsa, Okla., in 1981. Smith entered the collegiate coaching ranks at his alma mater, Tulsa, where he coached linebackers from 1983-1986, before coaching the same position at Wisconsin (1987), Arizona State (1988-91) and Kentucky (1992). He then served as the defensive backs coach at Tennessee (1993-94) and Ohio State (1995).
As a player, Smith was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection as a defensive back and linebacker at Tulsa from 1976-79. A native of Big Sandy, Texas, Smith led the Big Sandy Wildcats to three consecutive state championships in high school while playing defensive end and linebacker.
The Houston Texans have hired Lovie Smith as the team's fifth head coach in franchise history.