Sean Pendergast

My Dream Selection Committee For Houston Texans Coach and GM

Andre Johnson should be one of the former players with whom the Texans consult in their search for a new head coach.
Andre Johnson should be one of the former players with whom the Texans consult in their search for a new head coach. Photo by Eric Sauseda
When Bill O'Brien was fired on the Monday after the Week 4 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, it came as somewhat of a shock. It was not so much a shock that O'Brien was fired — let's face it, the season was trending hard that direction — but that he was the FIRST head coach (or general manager, for that matter) of the 2020 season to be cut loose, especially on the heels of an offseason where O'Brien drastically (and horribly) reshaped the roster.

While nobody wants their team to be 0-4, I think most Texan fans ultimately see this lost season as a small price to pay to be out from under O'Brien's warped vision of what "culture" looks like. Also, firing O'Brien early in the season means the team is giving itself plenty of runway to find its next head coach and GM. This is undoubtedly the most important collective decision in franchise history, as the team is finally operating with a franchise quarterback.

To that end, owner Cal McNair has made it clear that, while the final decision is his, he will ultimately look to others for advice, including the formation of an ad hoc committee to provide input and guidance, based on their collective experiences. McNair has even gone so far as to say that there may be a former player or two on that committee.

So it begs the question — what would your "dream team" of ad hoc committee members look like, if you were trying to hire the best head coach and the best general manager for the Houston Texans? I feel like the makeup of the committee should be about a half dozen people, with the specific backgrounds going like this — one person with executive management background in sports, two former NFL head coaches, two former players with ties to the Texans, and one wild card.

So, without further ado, here is my "dream team" committee:

For the executive background participant, Luck brings quite a bit to the table. He is the former president of a professional team in this town (Houston Dynamo), a former athletics director (West Virginia), a former executive for the NCAA, NFL Europe, nd commissioner of the XFL. He's done quite a bit of hiring, and dealt with players and management types at all different levels. On top of that, he is a former Houston QB (Oilers, baby).

For the next head coach, two very key attributes will be (a) their willingness to hire a strong staff that has contrasting opinions on certain things, and (b) a system that will maximize Deshaun Watson's skills. Parcells is known for hiring great assistants who weren't "yes men", many of whom went on to great success as head coaches. Shanahan is one of the godfathers of the system that we connect, here in Houston, to Gary Kubiak. I'd love Shanahan's specific opinion on offensive systems for some of the candidates with offensive backgrounds.

Andre Johnson is the most decorated, universally respected former player in the history of the franchise. He has a unique perspective, having played for all three head coaches in franchise history, and having coached for Bill O'Brien. Winston, meanwhile, is not only a former Texan, but a former head of the players union, so his perspective on coaches and how they relate to players would be valuable.

By definition of the phrase "wild card," this pick will raise some eyebrows. Hey, if you watch Van Gundy on TV, you know he has strong opinions on almost everything. As a former head coach in the NBA, he has made numerous hiring decisions before, and as a Houston Texans fan, I'm guessing he cares deeply about the organization getting these calls right.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast