When the NFL’s head coaching carousel began there seven spots to be filled. Those seven slots have been filled. The Houston Texans filled up the last head coaching vacancy by hiring David Culley. The news about the news of this hire was that Culley was not on all the hot names being floated about as a serious candidate.
An even bigger deal is the fact that Culley is Black. Culley is the lone wolf of Black coaches or coordinators in the NFL to get a shot at the head coaching position. Five of these jobs went to white coaches. Culley and Robert Saleh of the New York Jets are the only minority representation for the league to come through in the hiring process at this time.
“When you listen to people talk about David Culley, there are themes that continually repeat themselves,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said. “Themes such as what a special person he is, how much positive energy he emanates, a prime example of an individual that believes in servant leadership, someone who conducts himself in a way that brings out the best in others, and an outstanding communicator and teacher. Perhaps the greatest quality David possesses is his ability to connect with people and the approach with which he motivates them each and every day.”
With the hiring of Culley by the Texans, the NFL now has three Black head coaches among the league’s 32 franchises.
That’s disturbing to some people, especially since the Texans are going through a period in which they may wind up losing franchise quarterback DeShaun Watson, who has reportedly asked for a trade. So, the Texans going after and hiring Culley in the ninth hour may seem like a bit of an overreach of desperation on Houston’s part.
Culley, who began his NFL coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994 as a wide receivers coach, said during his introductory press conference that he does not think he got the Houston gig because of his skin color. Culley, who was assistant head coach the last two seasons for the Baltimore Ravens, said the job became his simply because he was the right candidate at the right time.
“Well, my feeling is that I’m one of those and I’m the head coach here for a reason. I don’t feel like I’m the head coach here at the Houston Texans because I’m a minority,” Culley said. “I feel like I’m the head coach here with the Houston Texans because the McNair family and Nick (Caserio), with a collaborative effort felt like I was the best guy for the job. What does that mean? That means that David Culley was the best hire for this job for this family and this franchise, who just happens to be African American. And that’s how I look at that.”
All told, Culley has spent 27 years as a coach in the NFL. Stops on his resume include Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Ravens. Nearly three decades have gone by and Culley finally gets the call to be a head coach. For Culley, it was worth the wait.
“I got this job simply because I was the best football coach that they wanted in this situation and I happen to be African American,” Culley said. “I’m proud of that. I’m happy for that, and I hope if me getting this job because of that reason allows other teams to in this league to see that, with all the other African American head coaches that are in this business right now, then so be it. I’m part of that and I’m for that.”
Editor’s note: Featured image of David Culley appears courtesy of the Houston Texans