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Texans to hire Denver's Kubiak as coach

HOUSTON (Jan. 22, 2006) -- The Houston Texans will hire Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to take over the worst team in the league and help decide what to do with the first pick in the draft.

Texans owner Bob McNair said during a news conference Jan. 22 that the hiring won't be completed until later in the week because the Texans could not negotiate a contract with Kubiak until the Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs.

McNair's announcement came about an hour after Denver lost to Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game.

"Hopefully we'll have him down here by the middle of the week and he will then be assembling a staff," McNair said.

McNair said he planned to speak with Kubiak later Jan. 22.

There's been speculation for weeks that Kubiak would become the Texans' second coach, replacing Dom Capers.

Capers was fired a day after Houston finished its season 2-14. He had led the team since its inception four seasons ago.

Houston won four games in its first season, five in 2003 and seven last season before its 2005 meltdown.

Kubiak has been a highly regarded coaching prospects for several years, but this will be his first head coaching job at any level. He spent the last 11 years with Mike Shanahan in Denver, helping the team to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1998 and 1999.

"To lose him is going to be tough," Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer said. "He really helped me step up in my career. We'll miss him but at the same time you're excited for him. He deserves it and he's a great football coach."

McNair said the improvements Plummer made under Kubiak's tutelage were a big draw.

"They've made great strides in improving the performance of Jake Plummer and I think Gary's responsible for that," he said.

The Texans formally interviewed four offensive coordinators and six total candidates, but Kubiak was the front-runner from the beginning. It certainly didn't hurt that he played in Denver for Dan Reeves, who is working for Houston as a consultant to McNair.

Kubiak will have to immediately get to work on helping the team decide what to do with its No. 1 pick in April's draft. Will it be Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush from Southern California or Houston's favorite son, quarterback Vince Young, who led Texas to the national championship?

A third option is that the Texans will decide they have too many holes to fill and trade down.

Kubiak, a Houston native and former Texas A&M quarterback, played for Reeves and backed up John Elway from 1983-91. His NFL playing career was mostly forgettable, although he played in 11 postseason games and had a 4-1 record as a starter.

He returned briefly to coach at his alma mater -- in College Station, about 90 miles from Houston -- then joined Shanahan on George Seifert's staff in San Francisco in 1994. With Shanahan as the offensive coordinator and Kubiak as the quarterbacks coach, the 49ers won the Super Bowl and Steve Young was named the MVP.

Shanahan became the Broncos' coach the following season and took Kubiak with him. Since then, the Broncos have had one of the league's top 10 offenses in 10 of 11 seasons. The Broncos ranked fifth in total offense in 2005.

Kubiak was a candidate for the job the first time around and was interviewed in 2001 before the Texans picked Capers.

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