San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans held his role for each of the last two seasons. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The Houston Texans hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as their head coach, the team announced.
The Texans announced the hire Tuesday night. He is set to be the franchise's fifth coach in four seasons. The Texans fired coach Lovie Smith in early January after he posted a 3-13-1 record in his first season with the franchise.
"I'd like to first thank the San Francisco 49ers, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch for six incredible seasons where I grew as a coach and a man," Ryans said in a news release. "I couldn't be prouder of what we accomplished together, and I will always cherish the relationships I built there.
"Being the head coach of the Houston Texans is my dream job and my family is thrilled to be back in H-Town."
Ryans, 38, spent the first six seasons of his decorated playing career with the Texans. The 2006 Defensive Rookie of the Year and two-time Pro Bowl selection also played for the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I have been around the game of football my entire life and I've always had a natural ability to lead others," Ryans said. "I know what it takes to win and be successful in this league as both a player and coach.
"We're going to build a program filled with players who have a special work ethic and relentless mindset. I understand the responsibility I have to this organization and to the fans of Houston to build a winner and I can't wait to get to work."
Ryans started his NFL coaching career in 2017 as a defensive quality control coach with the 49ers. He served as inside linebackers coach for three seasons and was promoted in 2021 to defensive coordinator. The 49ers allowed the third-fewest yards and ninth-fewest points in 2021. They also owned the No. 6 pass defense and No. 7 rush defense in 2021.
The 49ers allowed the fewest yards and points and owned the No. 2 rush defense and No. 20 pass defense in 2022, which led Ryans to PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year honors.
"We are thrilled to welcome DeMeco Ryans as the new head coach of the Houston Texans," Texans owner Cal McNair said. "For so many reasons, DeMeco is everything we are looking for in a leader and coach for our organization. He has a proven track record for developing high-quality players and constantly innovated his defensive scheme over the last six seasons in San Francisco.
"We started this process with the goal of finding someone our fans and city can be proud of and we've done just that."
The Texans won their division six times in nine seasons from 2011 through 2019, but finished third or last in the last three seasons. The Texans defense ranked No. 27 in points allowed in each of the last three seasons. They allowed the third-most yards in 2022 and 2020 and second-most yards in 2021.