HOUSTON – Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Executive Vice President/General Manager Rick Smith have led the franchise's football operations since 2006 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future with contract extensions for both men, the team announced today.
"I believe it is very important to have stability within an organization, and it starts with leadership," Texans Owner and CEO Bob McNair said. "We now have all of our key executives and coaches under long-term contracts. This includes (President) Jamey Rootes, (Vice Chairman/COO) Cal (McNair) and now (Executive Vice President/GM) Rick Smith and (Head Coach) Gary Kubiak. All four of these men are key components of our organization and I am pleased they will serve in leadership roles going forward.
"I feel this action gives us stability going forward and positions us to have many successful seasons for the Houston Texans."
Kubiak and Smith have worked hand-in-hand to help build the Texans from the 2-14 club they inherited in 2006 to the AFC South division champions and the city of Houston's first playoff football team since 1993 last season.
Kubiak was named the AFC Coach of the Year by NFL 101 after leading the Texans to a 10-6 regular season record and the franchise's first division crown, playoff berth and playoff win in 2011. He has a franchise-record 48 wins (including the playoffs) since being named the second head coach of the Houston Texans on Jan. 26, 2006.
The Houston native has led the Texans to the four best seasons in franchise history, going 8-8 in 2007 and 2008 before producing the first winning season in team history in 2009, narrowly missing the playoffs at 9-7. His tenure has been marked by offensive proficiency, producing the top five scoring, total offense and passing season marks in franchise history from 2007-11. The top two rushing seasons in franchise history have come on Kubiak's watch as well, including a franchise-record 153.0 yards per game in 2011, which ranked second in the NFL.
Four of the Texans' top five defensive seasons have come under Kubiak, including the third-largest defensive turnaround in NFL history from 2010 to 2011. The 2011 Texans gave up 285.7 yards per game to finish second in the League after giving up 376.9 yards per game and finishing 30th in 2010.
In 2011, Houston's offense battled through a glut of maladies, including season-ending injuries to quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart. Despite the injuries, Houston ranked second in the NFL in rushing and rookie QB T.J. Yates led a stretch run to the playoffs, while CB Johnathan Joseph, C Chris Myers and DE Antonio Smith earned their first trips to the Pro Bowl, and RB Arian Foster earned his second consecutive selection.
Strong team performances on offense and defense have been sparked by some outstanding individual efforts under Kubiak. Seventeen of the 21 Pro Bowl selections in team history have come during Kubiak's tenure, and the Texans are the only team in the NFL to produce a rushing, receiving and passing yardage champion since Kubiak became head coach.
The Texans have posted a 30-19 (.612) home record since 2006 and have had at least a .500 record at home in each of Kubiak's six seasons. The team was 10-22 (.315) at home prior to Kubiak's arrival.
Smith has served as the club's general manager since June, 2006 and added the title of executive vice president prior to the 2011 season. In his six previous seasons with the Texans, Smith has steadily strengthened Houston's roster through the draft, free agency and trades at key positions. The depth and talent acquired through those mediums allowed the Texans to persevere through a potentially catastrophic glut of injuries last season.
The Texans re-signed Foster prior to the 2011 season. Foster then went on to earn his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection and a long-term contract extension with the team on March 6, 2012. Smith also bolstered Houston's secondary with the signing of heralded unrestricted free agents Joseph and FS Danieal Manning prior to last season.
During an injury-filled 2011 season, Houston relied on players Smith drafted, as OLB Connor Barwin moved into Mario Williams' weakside spot and recorded a team-best 11.5 sacks. TE Owen Daniels, who Smith re-signed following the 2010 season, led the team with 54 receptions for 677 yards. Yates, a fifth-round draft pick in 2011, became the first rookie quarterback to orchestrate comeback wins in his first two starts since 1968, including Houston's playoff-clinching win in Week 13 at Cincinnati.
Smith also spearheaded the draft process in switching the team's defense to a 3-4 scheme in 2011, drafting DE J.J. Watt (5.5 sacks) and OLB Brooks Reed (6.0 sacks), who became the first rookie teammates to record more than five sacks apiece since 1996. Reed also set a franchise rookie sack record.
Smith also orchestrated the trade with Atlanta in 2007 that brought Schaub to Houston. Since then, Schaub had back-to-back 4,000-yard passing seasons (2009-10), led the NFL in passing in 2009 with 4,770 yards, was named the 2010 Pro Bowl MVP and helped lead Houston's offense to three-straight top-four NFL rankings (2008-10).
Smith's greatest success in the draft thus far came in 2009, when the Texans drafted Brian Cushing with the 15th overall pick. Cushing earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors that year and led the team in tackles in 2011 for the second time in three years. Foster, who was signed by Smith as undrafted rookie free agent in 2009, had a breakout year in 2010, leading the NFL with 2,220 yards from scrimmage, 20 touchdowns scored and 1,616 yards rushing, the most ever by an undrafted player, in addition to earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.
The former Purdue defensive back was appointed to the NFL's Competition Committee by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2008 and was an original member of the General Managers Advisory. Smith also earned recognition from his peers and was honored with the Tank Younger Award in 2008, presented annually by the Fritz Pollard Alliance for outstanding work in an NFL front office.
Smith has also had success drafting in the later rounds, taking 24 players between the fourth and seventh rounds from 2007-11. Those players have combined to start 156 games for the Texans, with 2009 fourth-round pick SS Glover Quin starting the most at 44 games.