Pep Hamilton

Texans Officially Hire Lovie Smith As HC

As expected, the Texans have hired Lovie Smith as their new head coach. The team announced that their defensive coordinator has earned the promotion to HC. We heard earlier today that the organization was moving towards hiring Smith as their next head coach.

“The last couple of seasons have been disappointing, but I believe in the vision Nick Caserio has for our football team moving forward and I see the pieces coming together,” said Texans Chair and Chief Executive Officer Cal McNair (via the team’s website). “Our goal here is to create an environment that’s conducive to winning on a day-to-day basis and compete for championships. I’ve had an extreme amount of respect for Lovie for years now and that only grew with the work he did last season and throughout this process. I’m excited for him and his family as we continue to evolve as an organization.”

Smith brings a wealth of experience to the table, having been a head coach for 16 of the past 18 years between the NFL and NCAA ranks. His longest stint on any one sideline was as HC of the Bears between 2004 and 2012. That stretch included a Coach of The Year award, along with a Super Bowl appearance not long after. From then on, though, his time in Chicago generally went downhill; an unsuccessful two years as the HC in Tampa Bay (which came after interviewing in Houston) certainly didn’t help his chances of another opportunity to lead an NFL team. 2021 was his first and only season as the DC in Houston, a year in which the defense did show signs of improvement.

Smith wasn’t initially considered to be a candidate for the gig, with Dolphins HC Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and recently retired quarterback Josh McCown all considered as favorites at one point. Smith only emerged as a legitimate candidate this past week.

The team also announced that they’ve promoted Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator and will retain Frank Ross as their special teams coordinator. Hamilton, 47, has had a long coaching career, including a three-year stint as the Colts offensive coordinator. He joined the Texans last offseason, catching on as the team’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was considered for the OC job in Jacksonville this offseason.

Texans Moving Towards Hiring Lovie Smith As Head Coach

One day after his name was added to the list of finalists for the job, defensive coordinator Lovie Smith is close to being officially hired as the head coach of the Texans. As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (via Twitter), Houston is “moving towards” hiring Smith. 

[Related: Texans Considering Lovie Smith For HC]

The 63-year-old has gone from being out of the picture with regards to the vacancy to the likely hire in a matter of hours. While it was believed that the three finalists for the position were former Dolphins HC Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and recently retired quarterback Josh McCown, it came out recently that the latter two were out of the running for the position.

The presence of Flores as a finalist came, of course, with the fact that his lawsuit against the NFL and three of its teams was ongoing. Flores has made it clear he would carry on with the suit even if he had been hired by Houston or any other team. That won’t be the case, in Houston at least, as the Texans are sticking with an internal candidate to replace David Culley.

Smith brings a wealth of experience to the table, having been a head coach for 16 of the past 18 years between the NFL and NCAA ranks. His longest stint on any one sideline was as HC of the Bears between 2004 and 2012. That stretch included a Coach of The Year award, along with a Super Bowl appearance not long after. From then on, though, his time in Chicago generally went downhill; an unsuccessful two years as the HC in Tampa Bay (which came after interviewing in Houston) certainly didn’t help his chances of another opportunity to lead an NFL team. 2021 was his first and only season as the DC in Houston, a year in which the defense did show signs of improvement.

Meanwhile, Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo tweets that McCown could still find himself on the Texans’ sideline this year. While that is a “possibility”, he adds that “those talks have yet to really happen”. He also states that Pep Hamilton is expected to remain on staff, becoming the new offensive coordinator.

With Smith seemingly in place, here’s what appears to be the final look at the Texans’ HC search:


Jaguars Request Interview With Pep Hamilton For OC

The list of names being connected to Doug Pederson‘s staff in Jacksonville is growing. The team has requested an interview with Pep Hamilton, the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator with the Texans, for their offensive coordinator role (Twitter link via USA Today’s Josina Anderson). 

[Related: Candidates For Doug Pederson’s Jaguars Staff]

Hamilton is the first name to be listed as an option for OC, as Press Taylor is thought to be a candidate for a lesser role on the offensive staff. Hamilton, 47, has more than two decades of coaching experience across the NCAA, NFL and even XFL. His most common job title in the NFL has been QBs coach, though he has also been the passing game coordinator in his one season in Houston. His work in the pro and college ranks earned him an interview request from the Panthers last month, but he turned it down.

Despite the external interest, Hamilton may not have to leave Houston to become an OC for the first time since 2015. As ESPN’s Sarah Barshop reports (via Twitter), Hamilton “is expected to be Houston’s offensive coordinator” if Lovie Smith is indeed hired as the team’s head coach. His availability to Jacksonville, or any other interested team, would therefore depend on what the Texans do in the coming days.

Pep Hamilton Expected To Pass On Panthers OC Interview, In Play For Texans’ OC Role

Expanding their search to include some former head coaches, the Panthers are not expected to meet with one of their preferred candidates. Texans quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton is expected to pass on an interview with the Matt Rhule-led team, Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790 tweets.

The former Colts OC might have another option. Despite the Texans axing David Culley and OC Tim Kelly, Hamilton remains on the radar to rise to the offensive coordinator role under the next Houston head coach, Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweets.

This would certainly be an interesting move, as head coaches frequently bring in their own OCs. It is not known if the Texans would insist their next coach keep Hamilton on staff, but Wilson adds that the veteran NFL assistant looms as a “strong” in-house replacement option. Hamilton has no history with the Patriots, making 2021 his first season under GM Nick Caserio.

It would make sense to keep a familiar voice on staff for Davis Mills, who showed considerable progress once named the team’s full-time starter in December. Although the Texans’ offense ranked 30th this season — featuring evolving skill-position personnel and Laremy Tunsil missing most of the year — Mills rebounded after a difficult start, steering the team to an upset win over the Chargers and finishing the season with a three-touchdown, no-interception game in a narrow loss to the Titans.

The Texans are looking for an offensive coordinator for the first time in three years. They promoted from within previously, elevating Kelly to the role in 2019. Kelly, however, had an extensive history under then-HC Bill O’Brien. Hamilton, 47, has been with five teams — the Browns, Michigan, the XFL’s D.C. Defenders, the Chargers and Texans — since his three-year Colts OC run ended after the 2015 season. Hamilton mentored Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert in 2020. The Panthers have interviewed seven candidates, including former HCs Jay Gruden and Ben McAdoo, for their OC position.

Mike Groh, Pep Hamilton Land On Panthers’ OC Radar

Two AFC South staffers became the latest to emerge in the Panthers’ hunt to fill their offensive coordinator post. Colts wide receivers coach Mike Groh and Texans quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton are the latest to surface on the radar for the job.

The Panthers sent out an interview request for Hamilton and have interviewed Groh, Ian Rapoport of tweets. These assistants join former HCs Bill O’Brien and Jay Gruden, along with Vikings OC Klint Kubiak, in the mix to succeed Joe Brady.

Both Groh and Hamilton have OC experience at the NFL level and at major colleges. Hamilton has bounced around a bit, but the current Houston assistant was a play-calling OC in Indianapolis for three seasons (2013-15) under Chuck Pagano. During those seasons, Andrew Luck helped the Colts to the divisional round and AFC championship game. A former Stanford OC and Michigan passing-game coordinator, Hamilton has been with the Chargers and Texans as QBs coach over the past two years, which respectively saw a dominant debut from Justin Herbert and a quality late-season run from Davis Mills.

A non-play-calling OC with the Eagles from 2018-19, Groh did not retain his duties into 2020 under Doug Pederson. Groh, who has spent the past two years as the Colts’ wideouts coach, was previously the OC at Virginia in the 2000s before finishing his college run at Alabama in 2012. He has been in the NFL since.

Texans Plan To Hire Pep Hamilton As QBs Coach

A candidate for a few offensive coordinator positions, Pep Hamilton will instead join David Culley‘s first staff in Houston. The Texans are hiring the former Colts OC as their quarterbacks coach, Tom Pelissero of tweets.

Hamilton spent the 2020 season as the Chargers’ QBs coach but received interest from three AFC teams for their respective OC posts. The Dolphins, Steelers and Titans interviewed Hamilton for those jobs. While two remain unfilled — Miami’s and Tennessee’s — Hamilton is expected to head to Houston.

The Texans are moving swiftly in filling out Culley’s first staff. They are eyeing ex-Bears and Buccaneers HC Lovie Smith for a defensive role and have current reserve quarterback Josh McCown in mind for an offensive position. McCown interviewed for Houston’s HC job but may well begin his coaching career as a Texans assistant.

Hamilton, 46, was Indianapolis’ OC from 2013-15. The Colts made the playoffs twice in that span, with the latter season featuring Andrew Luck leading the NFL with 40 touchdown passes. This past season, Hamilton mentored Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Justin Herbert. The other two high-ranking Bolts staffers behind Herbert’s rise, Anthony Lynn and Shane Steichen, respectively landed OC gigs with Detroit and Philadelphia. Hamilton appears set to land on his feet as well.

The Dolphins have seen each of the external candidates for their OC post commit elsewhere. Clemson OC Tony Elliott will not leave the ACC program, Mike McDaniel received a promotion to become the 49ers’ OC, and the Steelers promoted Matt Canada to their OC position.

Coaching Notes: Seahawks, Titans, Dolphins

We’ve got another couple of names to pass along for Seattle’s wide-ranging offensive coordinator search. The Seahawks want to interview Bills quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey and have already spoken with Rams pass-game coordinator Shane Waldron, Adam Schefter of tweets. They’ve been linked to what seems like every offensive coach in the league now, including Adam Gase and other big names. Dorsey was a backup quarterback in the league for a handful of years, and the 39-year-old was the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach from 2013-17.

He joined the Bills last season. Waldron is another young guy who has coached under Rams coach Sean McVay since 2016 since they were both with Washington. He started as McVay’s tight ends coach in Los Angeles before getting promoted to quarterbacks coach and pass-game coordinator. The Seahawks don’t appear to be honing in on anything in particular, and at this point it’s anyone’s guess who they’ll hire.

Here are more coaching notes from around the league:

  • The Texans are the only team still with a head coach opening, but they aren’t letting one key assistant go out the door yet. They recently blocked offensive coordinator Tim Kelly from interviewing for OC openings with two other teams, and those interested teams were the Titans and Lions, Albert Breer of tweets. Since it would be a lateral move and he’s still under contract, Houston can block those requests. As Breer points out, there has been buzz that Deshaun Watson likes Kelly, and the team could be looking to keep him in order to curry favor with their disgruntled starting quarterback. Detroit has since filled their vacancy with former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn.
  • Speaking of the Titans’ opening, Tennessee will be interviewing Pep Hamilton for the job in the next few days, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Hamilton was the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach this past year, and did a great job helping with the development of Justin Herbert, so he’s been drawing a lot of interest for OC jobs. He was talked about as a candidate in Miami, and is one of the finalists in Pittsburgh as well. The Titans of course are looking to replace Arthur Smith, now the head coach in Atlanta. Hamilton coordinated the Colts’ offense from 2013-15, and had a lot of success with Andrew Luck.
  • The Dolphins are still looking for their OC, but they have made a different key hire on offense. The team has parted ways with quarterbacks coach Robby Brown and replaced him with former NFL passer Charlie Frye, they announced in a tweet. It’s the first NFL coaching gig for Frye, who was Central Michigan’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons. It’s interesting that they’d hire the QBs coach before the OC. A third-round pick of the Browns back in 2005, Frye also played with the Seahawks and Raiders until 2009.

Steelers To Interview Pep Hamilton For OC

We heard last week that the Steelers were expected to promote Matt Canada to offensive coordinator to replace Randy Fichtner, but that is not a done deal just yet. As veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to report (via Twitter), Pittsburgh requested an interview with Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton for its OC position, and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that the Steelers will meet with Hamilton today.

This jibes with a recent report from Dulac, whose sources indicated that Canada was a “candidate” for the OC gig but that nothing had been finalized. Obviously, the Steelers are still in search mode, which means that Hue Jackson is presumably still in the running as well.

Hamilton certainly has a more extensive NFL resume than Canada, who was in the college game for his entire career except 2020, when he joined the Steelers as their QB coach. Hamilton, meanwhile, served as the Colts’ OC from 2013-15, and he has also had stops with the Jets, 49ers, Bears, and Browns.

After two years working under Jim Harbaugh as the University of Michigan’s assistant head coach/passing game coordinator, and after an ill-fated gig as the head coach and GM of the XFL’s DC Defenders, the 46-year-old Hamilton rejoined the NFL ranks in 2020, when he hooked on with the Chargers. The success of rookie QB Justin Herbert has helped Hamilton boost his stock, as he is also a candidate for the Dolphins’ OC position.

If he joins the Steelers, Hamilton will be tasked with getting more out of a unit that finished 25th in the league in total offense in 2020 despite the presence of some highly-talented weapons. He will also try to develop the games of potential Ben Roethlisberger heirs Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins.

Six OC Candidates Emerge For Dolphins

The Dolphins are moving quickly on their third offensive coordinator search in three years. They have identified six candidates to succeed Chan Gailey, and some will be interviewing for the position.

Steelers quarterbacks coach Matt Canada interviewed for the post Thursday, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The team has also identified Chargers QBs coach Pep Hamilton and 49ers run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel as OC options, according to’s Cameron Wolfe, who adds Dolphin position coaches Eric Studesville and George Godsey will be considered as well (Twitter link).

Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott also emerged on Miami’s radar, but veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson reports (via Twitter) the college assistant has opted against making a move to the pros at this time. The Titans also reached out to Elliott about their OC job, which Arthur Smith may well vacate soon given his interview frequency thus far, but Dabo Swinney‘s top offensive assistant will stay put in South Carolina.

Of this group, only Hamilton and Godsey have been NFL OCs previously. Hamilton spent three years in that role, serving as Colts OC from 2013-15. Godsey became the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach during the season, Wolfe tweets. He served as Bill O’Brien‘s OC in Houston from 2015-16 but has been a position coach since. Hamilton is coming off a notable year, with Justin Herbert developing from a player expected to sit behind Tyrod Taylor for a while into an Offensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner.

McDaniel has worked with Kyle Shanahan with multiple teams; the 49ers assistant also popped up on the radar during the Browns’ most recent HC search. Studesville has been with the Dolphins in each of Brian Flores‘ two seasons at the helm. He served as Broncos interim HC in 2010 and was retained by multiple Denver HCs to stay on as running backs coach, a title he currently holds in Miami.

Canada spent more than two decades as a college coach before making the move to the Steelers last year. From 2003-18, Canada served as offensive coordinator at eight colleges — including LSU, Wisconsin and Maryland.

Chargers Hire Pep Hamilton As QBs Coach

The Chargers are hiring Pep Hamilton as their new quarterbacks coach, a source tells Daniel Popper of The Athletic.

Hamilton’s most recent gig came as the head coach and general manager of the XFL’s DC Defenders, but he also boasts ample NFL experience. He served in a variety of offensive roles for the Jets, 49ers, and Bears before joining the Colts as offensive coordinator in 2013. In Indianapolis, Hamilton coached quarterback Andrew Luck, who he’d also led as Stanford’s OC from 2011-12.

The 45-year-old Hamilton spent 2016 with the Browns before reuniting with Jim Harbaugh at Michigan for two seasons. He took over the Defenders earlier this year, but that role ended when the XFL ended its operations in early April. The Chargers actually tried to hire Hamilton a few months ago, but weren’t able to due to his XFL employment, tweets Ian Rapoport of

In Los Angeles, Hamilton will team with holdover offensive coordinator Shane Steichen to develop No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert. While veteran Tyrod Taylor may begin the 2020 campaign as the Chargers’ starting quarterback, Herbert will surely be under center at some point.