The Houston Texans came under fire Thursday when the team fired head coach David Culley after one season, leaving only one Black head coach in the NFL.
The Texans went 4-13 in Culley’s lone year but the head coach had to deal with a lot for a first-year head coach. The team had all the legal drama surrounding Deshaun Watson coupled with his trade request and the circus he brought to training camp and the will they or won’t they in regard to a trade in the middle of the season.
Houston Texans head coach David Culley watches from the sideline during the first half of his team’s NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, California, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
Houston had the same number of wins as they did in 2020 with Romeo Crennel and Bill O’Brien. Houston’s offensive coordinator Tim Kelly was also fired.
“Earlier today, I met with David Culley and Tim Kelly to inform them we will be moving in a different direction at the head coach and offensive coordinator positions. I came to this difficult but necessary decision after reviewing our football operation,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement. “While a change after one season is unusual, we had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward. We appreciate Coach Culley for helping us navigate through a difficult season, but it is my responsibility to make decisions that I feel are best for our organization. The search for the next coach of the Houston Texans will begin immediately.”
Texans chairman Cal McNair added: “We are grateful for the energy and passion David brought to our organization throughout last season. We wish him, his wife Carolyn and their entire family nothing but the best moving forward. I have entrusted Nick Caserio to lead football performance and I have complete confidence he will find the best leader for our team. These decisions are difficult, but Nick believed it was necessary for the future of our organization. We look forward to continuing to build our roster and finding the right coach to lead us forward.”
The dismissal created a firestorm on social media. Many decried the Texans for letting go Culley, who is Black, after one season.
At the start of Monday, the NFL didn’t have many Black head coaches to begin with. The Pittsburgh Steelers have Mike Tomlin, Brian Flores was with the Miami Dolphins and Culley with the Texans. The Dolphins fired Flores on Monday.
Houston Texans head coach David Culley questions a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Culley discussed the challenges he faced in his first season with the Associated Press last month.
“There’s a manual that they give you, like here’s all the things that will happen to you. Listen, there’s been many, many things that ain’t in that manual that I’ve had to go through here that you just learn, you learn on the run,” Culley said.
“But the big thing is, do what you feel like is right for your team. And be honest with everybody. And that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Culley also talked about the long road he took to get to where he was and the lack of minority head coaches in the league.
Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Dec. 5, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
“It’s just very disappointing. And very disappointing for this reason, there are so many minority coaches in this profession from all ethnicities that deserve to have that opportunity.”
It’s the first time Houston had fired a head coach after one season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.