HOUSTON – Gary Kubiak helped pull the Houston 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 losing streak that has dropped them back to the bottom of the league.
Kubiak was fired Friday, one day after the Texans lost 27-20 at Jacksonville and continued their stunning fall for a team many expected to be a Super Bowl contender. Houston (2-11) was penalized 14 times for a franchise-record 177 yards Thursday.
Kubiak, 52, was hired in 2006 and led the Texans to AFC South titles in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
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“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.”
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, 66, will be Houston’s interim coach.
Kubiak thanked the team for giving him his first head-coaching job in the league.
“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.”
Kubiak’s record is 61-64, with a 2-2 mark in the playoffs. He suffered a mini-stroke Nov. 3, collapsing at halftime during a game against Indianapolis and being taken to a Houston hospital.
Owner Bob McNair said the decision to let him go was a hard one, but added, “We’re here to have a winning culture, and this year has not contributed to that.”
• Denver’s John Fox will coach from the sideline and not the booth upon his return Sunday about five weeks after heart surgery. The Broncos (10-2) host Tennessee (5-7).