Lovie 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 ppg). Smith was named the 2005 NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press after leading Chicago to 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.