Houston Texans: 5 Candidates for head coach vacancy

Don Martindale Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Don Martindale Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matt Campbell, Houston Texans
Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Campbell: Iowa State Head Coach

After the Bill O’Brien experiment, it seems very unlikely that the Houston Texans would dip back into the college ranks for their next head coach, but all options should be on the board. As the NFL continues to modernize, watching coaches jump from college to the NFL could become more frequent.

You simply can not deny what Matt Campbell has done at Iowa State. For decades the Cyclones were mostly seen as cellar-dwelling punching bags. Campbell has had four winning seasons in his five years in Ames, and came within a few plays of winning a Big 12 championship this season. That is an incredible accomplishment, and Campbell’s name is rightfully being thrown around for bigger jobs.

A lot of parallels can be drawn between Campbell and former Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, who is now the coach of the Carolina Panthers. Both oversaw dramatic turnarounds of Big 12 programs and placed an emphasis on building “long term” winners. Sure, Rhule is only 4-10 in his first season in Carolina, but he has taken on a long rebuilding project there and the Panthers have been much more competitive than their 4-10 record may suggest.

Campbell is also winning at Iowa State without necessarily bringing in top tier talent. This suggests that he is elite at developing talent. That is such an important asset to have, especially since the Houston Texans will have to hit on their limited draft selections in the next year or two if they hope to be back in contention anytime soon.

Campbell is a “players coach” that just wins football games. On his first day, Campbell would make his top priority establishing a winning culture. There is of course risk involved anytime you bring a coach from the collegiate to the NFL level, but Campbell’s inspiring leadership could be just what Houston needs right now.