HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans fired Gary Kubiak on Friday, parting ways with the only coach to lead the team to the playoffs.
The team announced the decision one day after the Texans lost their 11th straight game, 27-20 at Jacksonville, a stunning fall for a team that expected to make a Super Bowl run. Houston (2-11) played miserably and was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards.
The 52-year-old Kubiak was hired in 2006 and was working under a three-year contract that runs through 2014. An eighth-round pick out of Texas A&M, he spent nine years as John Elway’s backup in Denver and has made his mark as an offensive guru and quarterbacks mentor.
The Texans said they couldn’t wait any longer to start turning things around.
“What’s taken place with this organization is unacceptable,” general manager Rick Smith said. “We’ve got three weeks of an evaluation process left and we’ve got to right the ship.”
Owner Bob McNair said the decision was a hard one.
“It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary,” McNair said. “We’re here to have a winning culture and this year has not contributed to that.”
The Texans said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips would serve as interim coach for the rest of the season.
After taking over the team in 2006, Kubiak led the team to back-to-back AFC South titles in 2011-2012.
Kubiak’s overall record is 61-64, with a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. He suffered a mini-stroke Nov. 3 in a frightening scene, collapsing at halftime during a game against the Colts and being rushed to a Houston hospital. He had returned to the sidelines, but the Texans have been unable to rebound from injuries to top players including quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Arian Foster.
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