HOUSTON (AP) — DeMeco Ryans has been hired as coach of the Houston Texans, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The person spoke on the condition on anonymity since the hiring had not been announced.
The move gives him his first head coaching job and brings him back to the place where he started his playing career.
Ryans joins the Texans from the San Francisco 49ers, where he spent the past two seasons as their defensive coordinator.
He replaces Lovie Smith, who was fired after just one season where the team went 3-13-1.
Ryans led a 49ers defense that led the NFL this season by allowing just 300.6 yards a game.
San Francisco was particularly good against the run, ranking second in the league by holding teams to 77.7 yards. That’s a stark contrast to Houston’s run defense, which ranked last in the NFL by allowing 170.2 yards this season.
Ryans helped the 49ers to a 13-4 regular-season record and the NFC West title this season. San Francisco reached the NFC championship game before falling to Philadelphia on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Ryans was a linebacker who was a second-round pick of the Texans in 2006. He led the NFL with 126 solo tackles that season to win AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
He spent his first six NFL seasons with the Texans where he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009.
Ryans becomes the sixth coach in franchise history and the third in three seasons after David Culley also just lasted one year before being fired at the end of the 2021 season.