David Culley is finally getting his opportunity to lead an NFL team after working for more than a quarter-century as a pro assistant. He is about to become the Texans’ new head coach, replacing Bill O’Brien and interim coach Romeo Crennel, according to multiple reports Wednesday night.
Culley, 65, is joining Houston by way of Baltimore, where he worked the past two seasons as the Ravens’ assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. That means he’s moving from Lamar Jackson to, for the moment, Deshaun Watson. Whether Watson will be behind center for the Texans in Week 1 remains to be seen.
If Watson does stay, then he will be playing for a respected NFL coaching vet whose history is on the offensive side of the ball.
A quick SN sketch of Culley, who inherits a 4-12 team that may be in transition in the offseason:
Culley is the newest branch on the Andy Reid coaching tree
Culley was a part of Reid’s staff in Philadelphia and Kansas City for a combined 18 seasons (1999-2016) before moving to the Bills (and ex-Reid assistant Sean McDermott) in 2017 and then the Ravens (and ex-Reid assistant John Harbaugh) in 2019. He was Reid’s wide receivers coach in both places, adding assistant HC duties along the way.
Reid, who is preparing the Chiefs for Super Bowl 55, pointed out some of Culley’s top personal traits.
#Chiefs HC Andy Reid on David Culley, a member of his staff in Philadelphia and Kansas City: “Great person. Very loyal. Will bring positive energy to the building.”
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) January 28, 2021
Positive energy and people skills will be needed after the Texans’ poor season, which left star pass-rusher J.J. Watt frustrated.
Personal qualities aside, Culley is a first-time head coach with no experience as a full-time coordinator, but the Houston Chronicle reported that new Texans general manager Nick Caserio told Culley in their second interview that Caserio had no issues with that lack of experience.
Culley had a long college coaching career before the NFL
He began in the college ranks in 1978 with Austin Peay. Stops at Vanderbilt, Middle Tennessee State, Chattanooga, Southwestern Louisiana, UTEP and Texas A&M followed before he was hired by the Buccaneers in 1994.
Former Aggies coach R.C. Slocum lauded his ex-assistant for his character.
“He’ll do a great job. He is the kind of guy in the clubhouse that players want to play for. He’ll rally the guys around him,” Slocum told the Chronicle after learning that the Texans were about to hire Culley.
He edged out former NFL head coaches for the Texans job
The Chronicle reported that the Texans also interviewed Leslie Frazier, Jim Caldwell and Marvin Lewis for the job, as well as assistants Matt Eberflus, Brandon Staley (who became the Chargers’ head coach) and Joe Brady.
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Per the Chronicle, they also interviewed Eric Bieniemy, Reid’s current offensive coordinator in Kansas City. Watson reportedly became upset when the Texans initially did not follow his suggestion to talk to Bieniemy. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes reportedly gave Bieniemy a strong recommendation in a conversation with Watson.