Now that the Houston Texans have their head coach in Lovie Smith, the next step will be to fill out the rest of his coaching staff.
Smith has assembled coaching staffs in the past, having been an NFL head coach twice before with the Chicago Bears (2004-12) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15). He credits Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy as giving him his first opportunity in the NFL coaching ranks.
"I think we have a responsibility and for me being a Black man, to give as many guys — back then, it was about an opportunity," Smith said. "I think it's important to give Black coaches as possible an opportunity to work up through the ranks. As you look at my last staff in Tampa, my last staff at Illinois, I've heard the statement there's not enough qualified guys. That's a misnomer a little bit."
Two of the three coordinator positions have already been announced in Smith's staff, Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton and Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross. The Texans promoted Hamilton to OC after he served as the team's passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season. The two also worked together when Smith was head coach of the Chicago Bears. Hamilton was the Bears' quarterbacks coach for three seasons (2007-09) under Smith.
"I tried to hire Pep a couple of different times and it didn't work out," Smith said. "And it's kind of a perfect storm for him to be able to lead our offense. He'll be leading our offense this year. Someone I didn't know, but this past year allowed me a chance to get to know was Frank Ross. Frank is an outstanding special teams coordinator."
Smith will likely have a mix of returning and new assistant coaches on his staff for 2022. The Texans former Offensive Line Coach James Campen, Tight Ends Coach Andy Bischoff and Wide Receivers Coach Robert Prince all signed with other teams this offseason, opening up those positions. With Smith now as head coach calling defensive plays, the Texans may or may not add a new new defensive coordinator.
"We have an excellent coaching staff," Smith said. "The one thing about being in the building a little bit, we're far along in getting our coaching staff in place. I talked about our leaders. We're further along."