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'It's about winning football games' | Lovie Smith officially introduced as Houston Texans head coach

The Big Sandy native and his big beard officially took the helm on Tuesday as the fifth head coach in franchise history.

HOUSTON — A new face of the franchise was introduced by the Houston Texans on Tuesday as Lovie Smith takes over as the fifth head coach in its history.

The 58-year old Big Sandy native previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Texans under coach David Culley, before Culley was fired.

Smith was selected over candidates Brian Flores and Josh McCown, among others the Texans interviewed.

RELATED: Who are the Texans' former head coaches?

RELATED: Texans head coach candidate Brian Flores accuses NFL of racism in federal lawsuit

Smith brings a lot of head coaching experience to his new position in Houston. He coached the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2012, going 81-63 and leading them to a Super Bowl in 2006. He was also named AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2005.

Texans CEO Cal McNair comments on Smith's hiring

While questions surrounded the interview process and the rapid hiring of Smith, Texans officials say the process was very thorough.

"I've never seen a more thorough, inclusive and in-depth process than what Nick (Caserio) just went through with our coaching search," McNair said. "Our entire organization is a much better place this year than it was last year in large part because of it."

McNair also said his respect has only grown for Smith after getting to know him.

"I've had an extreme amount of respect for coach Lovie Smith for years," Texans CEO Cal McNair said. "And that only grew last season and throughout this whole process."

In Smith's one season with the Texans, their defense was second to last in the league in yards given up at 6,535 and sixth-worst in points allowed at 26.6, according to ESPN. Though it was through no fault of his own, as the Texans operated without key contributors J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Zach Cunningham.

General Manager Nick Caserio's comments on the hiring of Lovie Smith

"We realized the best decision moving forward was Lovie Smith as head coach," Texans General Manager Nick Caserio said.

"My job was to take in a lot of information throughout that process, and try to put ourselves in the position to make the decision that's best for the Houston Texans organization, and I believe we've arrived at that point."

While taking questions about other candidates, including McCown and Flores, a fire alarm interrupted Caserio's comments.

"I've known Brian a long time personally and professionally," Caserio said.

RELATED: Texans head coaching candidate Brian Flores speaks out on NFL lawsuit

"As it pertains to the individual lawsuit, there were multiple conversations over the last few weeks...there were conversations that took place with Brian after that took place," Caserio said over the fire alarm announcement. "We can talk over the fire announcement, we can have a little laughs."

Caserio also stated that Flores' pending lawsuit with the NFL did not play a role or affect the process.

Flores also released a statement on the hiring Monday night, saying he was pleased to see the Texans hire a Black head coach, but claiming his lawsuit prevented him from getting the job.

Lovie Smith's comments on becoming the Texans new head coach

While Lovie Smith becomes the seventh head coach in Texans history, he's actually only the fifth official head coach. Wade Philips and Romeo Crennel both held the interim tag during their short tenues, taking over for mid-season firings.

"I always wanted to be a coach," Lovie said. "I can't thank Cal and Hannah McNair enough for having the faith in me to lead this great program."

Smith comes to lead the franchise sitting at a crossroads. After a 4-13 season and questions about the roster moving forward, Smith acknowledge the fanbase's frustrations and the work ahead to rebuild trust with them.

"To sit in this role, to sit in this position...it's about winning football games," Smith said.

"I've seen the day where it's tough playing at NRG Stadium. It's our responsibility to bring the fans back and get them excited about product we're going to put on the football field and I guarantee you can do that."

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Posted by Houston Texans on Tuesday, February 8, 2022

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