How DeMeco Ryans Became a Successful First-Time Head Coach

By Stephen Juza

June 18th, 2024

The varied experience DeMeco Ryans brought to his head coaching career has made him an excellent choice to lead the Texans. After finishing runner-up to Kevin Stefanski as the Coach of the Year last year, sports betting sites across the country are again high on Ryans to take the award this year. Their success wouldn’t surprise anyone this season though, as success has followed him every step of his football journey.

During his college career, he played linebacker for Alabama where he was a unanimous All-American selection among many other awards as a senior in 2005. Success continued as soon as he hit the NFL after being drafted in the second round when he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 when he was a middle linebacker for the Texans. Overall, Ryans had a ten-year career in Houston and Philadelphia where he made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team before hanging up his cleats.

After taking a year off from football, he began his coaching career in 2017 under Kyle Shanahan as an entry-level assistant. Working his way up the coaching ranks, he helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl once in 2019 and advance to the NFC championship two more times. After taking over the defense in 2021 after Robert Saleh was hired as the new head coach for the Jets, the defense continued to thrive. In 2022, his final year as an assistant, the 49ers had the top ranked defense in both points and yards allowed - the first time in franchise history this happened.

His success as an assistant did not go unnoticed throughout the league where he won the Assistant Coach of the Year award following the season. He was hired on January 31, 2023 as the Texans sixth head coach and led the remarkable turnaround that followed. In his first season, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2019 following an incredibly strong NFL draft in April where they drafted quarterback C.J. Stroud and defensive end Will Anderson Jr. The Texans became just the 4th team since the merger to draft both the Offensive and Defensive rookies of the year in the same draft.

The Texans’ future looks bright. After having changed head coaches four consecutive years to get to Ryans, they are looking to defend their 2023 divisional title to win the AFC South again in 2024. They look to build on their second round exit last year with their first ever conference championship appearance.

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