Texans GM says finding right head coach is ‘not about race’ after firing second Black coach in as many seasons


The Houston Texans will have their third head coach in as many seasons in 2023.

General manager Nick Caserio hired David Culley, who was fired after a 4-13 season in his first head coaching gig.

Lovie Smith replaced Culley, and Houston went 3-13-1. The Texans fired Smith just hours after their win Sunday that cost them the No. 1 overall pick.


Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio at NRG Stadium Nov. 3, 2022, in Houston.
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Both firings have drawn some flak since Culley and Smith are Black. Some critics suggest the Texans hired and fired both coaches just to adhere to the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for open head coaching positions and one for a coordinator job or a senior level position in a front office.

A reporter asked the Texans GM why any black candidate he interviews should feel the full support of the front office after firing two Black coaches in back-to-back years. But Caserio said race is not a factor.

“I think each individual is going to have to make that choice. In the end, it’s not about race, it’s about finding quality coaches,” Caserio told reporters Monday. “There’s a lot of quality coaches. David is a quality coach. Lovie is a quality coach. In the end, each coach has their own beliefs, each coach has their own philosophy, each coach has a comfort level about what we’re doing.

“That’s all I can do, is just be honest and forthright, which I’ve done from the day that I took this job. And I’m going to continue to do that and try to find the coach that makes the most sense for this organization.”

Head coach Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans prior to a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium Nov. 27, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
(Megan Briggs/Getty Images)


ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith called it an “embarrassment” that the Texans fired Smith, adding African Americans shouldn’t even put their name in the pool of potential candidates. Former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst Robert Griffin III said, “Using 2 Black Head Coaches to tank and then firing them after 1 year shouldn’t sit right with anyone.”

“The Houston Texans organization, I’m going to say something loud and clear over the national airwaves, and I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks,” Stephen A. said on “First Take” Monday. “African Americans need not apply. This is not an organization that has been fair to African Americans.

“As far as I’m concerned, if you’re an African American, and you aspire to be a head coach in the NFL, there are 31 teams you should hope for. You should hope beyond God that the Houston Texans never call you — not as long as he is in there. Because it’s an embarrassment, and something needs to be said about it.”

General manager Nick Caserio of the Houston Texans walks across the field before a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at NRG Stadium Oct. 2, 2022, in Houston.
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)


The Texans are 6-26-1 since Caserio joined the franchise.