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December 7, 2013

Texans fire coach Gary Kubiak after sliding into cellar

HOUSTON — Gary Kubiak pulled the Texans out of the NFL basement and remains the only coach to take them to the playoffs.

That wasn’t enough to save his job, not with the Texans mired in an 11-game skid that has dropped them back to the bottom of the league.

Houston fired Kubiak on Friday, one day after the Texans lost 27-20 at Jacksonville and continued their stunning fall for a team that expected to make a Super Bowl run. Houston (2-11) was flagged 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards.

The 52-year-old Kubiak was hired in 2006 and led the team to AFC South titles in 2011-2012, the highlights of his eight-year tenure as coach of his hometown NFL team.

The Texans said they couldn’t wait any longer to start turning things around, not with the losses and undisciplined play piling up.

“What’s taken place with this organization is unacceptable,” general manager Rick Smith said. “We’ve got three weeks of an evaluation process left and we’ve got to right the ship.”

Kubiak thanked the team for giving him his first head coaching job in the NFL.

“Though we came up short this season, the work, effort and sacrifice they gave me and this organization over the last eight seasons is not to be taken for granted,” he said in a statement provided by the Texans. “We had a great run here and we will never forget our back-to-back AFC South championships. Coming back home was a dream come true for all of us. This will always be our home.”

Kubiak’s overall record is 61-64, with a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. Owner Bob McNair said the decision to let him go was a hard one.

“It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary,” McNair said. “We’ve been evaluating it every game and asking the question, ‘What’s in the best interest of the organization?’ We’re at the point now where we need to go ahead and make some changes because losing like this is unacceptable.”

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