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Texans Hope to Find ‘Next Mike Tomlin’ In Coach Search

The Texans will try to strike gold by hiring a coach like Mike Tomlin.

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio was given the opportunity to hire the first head coach in the post-Bill O'Brien era. Not many GMs get a second shot of hiring another.

He does, however, have a vision.

The Texans fired David Culley following his first season after posting a 4-13 record. Culley, 66, was never viewed as the long-term solution to fix Houston after a 4-12 season in 2020, and now Houston is looking for its long-term name.

Caserio pointed toward the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike Tomlin as a model.

"When you look at coach Tomlin, you look at the organization, basically three coaches over the course of the Rooney ownership," Caserio said. "They went from Chuck (Noll) to Bill (Cowher) to Mike. When Mike was hired … he was maybe 31 years old and at the time.

“I don’t think people knew Mike Tomlin was going to not have a losing season in 15 years." 

Tomlin, 49, has the Steelers in this weekend’s NFL playoffs. Under his direction, Pittsburgh is 154-85-2 with 10 playoff appearances, two AFC titles and a Super Bowl victory in 2008. 

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Before becoming Pittsburgh's 16th head coach — and only third since 1969 — Tomlin served as the Vikings defensive coordinator in 2006. Prior to that, he worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their defensive line coach for five seasons. 

"Mike’s as good of a coach, I would say as good of a leader as there is in, forget about sports, probably in organizational behavior," Caserio said. "I have a lot of respect and admiration." 

Caserio's comments on Tomlin serving one season as a coordinator could indicate which direction the team is leaning. Brian Flores, the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins and a front-runner for the job, was never a coordinator for the Patriots. Instead, he served as the linebacker coach under Bill Belichick.

In similar fashion, current Patriots linebacker coach Jerod Mayo does the same. Without the title of defensive coordinator, Mayo, who played in New England from 2008-15, has input on the defensive plan.

Mayo, 35, has risen up the ranks during his three years as a coach. Houston is interested, but the Denver Broncos also have put in a request to interview him as well. Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles brought Mayo in before settling on Nick Sirianni. 

Caserio pointed out how the Rooney family gave Tomlin "the runway and opportunity" when hired in 2007. Houston could plan on doing the same thing with its next head coach, regardless of how long it takes to establish a winning culture 

"We’re going to have some bumps in the road along the way," Caserio said. "There are going to be some things that don’t work out the way that really we hope, but ultimately we have to keep pressing forward and take as many people along with us and create an environment that’s conducive to winning on a day-to-day basis."