ENGLEWOOD - Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will interview for the Houston Texans’ headcoaching job this week, coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.
Shanahan said Texans owner Bob McNair called him Monday to ask permission to interview Kubiak. Shanahan granted permission, although a date and time was not immediately set. The NFL allows teams to interview assistants from playoff teams if they have a bye week. All interviews must be finished by Saturday. Kubiak’s interview will take place at the Broncos’ facilities, Shanahan said. Kubiak is a Houston native, went to St. Pius High School in Houston and played in college at nearby Texas A&M. Through a Broncos spokesman, Kubiak declined an interview request. Minnesota, Green Bay, New Orleans, Houston and St. Louis fired their coaches Sunday or Monday and Kansas City’s Dick Vermeil retired. Shanahan supported Kubiak for each vacant coaching job, although he made it clear he didn’t want to lose Kubiak as an assistant. “If they’re smart he’ll get one of those jobs,” Shanahan said. “I’m hoping one of those organizations aren’t that smart to hire him. No, he’s a great man, a great coach.” Shanahan said he was contacted by another team interested in Kubiak. Shanahan declined to say which team because some details needed to be worked out before an interview is arranged. Kubiak has been Denver’s offensive coordinator since 1995, Shanahan’s first season as Broncos coach, but he has never been a head coach. This season the Broncos ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense. Kubiak and Shanahan supervised an offense that had a 1,000-yard rusher for the 10th time in the past 11 years and also helped quarterback Jake Plummer have his best season. Plummer, who had more interceptions than touchdowns in the first eight NFL seasons, had 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. “I think if you take a look at what this offense has done over the last 11 years, it’s been number one in a lot of categories and Gary has been a huge factor in making that happen,” Shanahan said. Kubiak was hot when the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. But Denver hasn’t won a playoff game since 1998, and now that the Broncos are 13-3 he is again getting attention. “I think everything is based on winning,” Shanahan said. The Texans were 2-14 this season, the worst record in the NFL. Houston was an expansion team in 2002 and has won 18 games in four seasons. “After a disappointing 2-14 campaign this season we had to make a change,” McNair said, according to the team’s Web site. “W e will begin looking for qualified candidates immediately to fill our vacancy and get the Texans moving in the right direction in 2006.” Shanahan said he respects the way the Texans organization is run. “I’ve had a little time to spend with the owner, Mr. Mc-Nair, and he’s just a class act,” Shanahan said. “When you have great facilities and a great owner you definitely have a good chance.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org