With over 40 years of coaching experience, David Culley is ready to prove that he’s the right fit for the Houston Texans’ head coaching job.
When a NFL franchise looks to hire their next head coach, they tend to look at several different factors. Some NFL teams want a coach that dominated in college football, like an Urban Meyer. Others want a seasoned veteran like an Andy Reid or a Bruce Arians.
Still others like the idea of a long time coordinator, who is ready to prove themselves as a head coach. No matter the franchise, one thing is for sure, they will not know if they made the right hire until the new season kicks off.
As for the Houston Texans, they decided to go with the last approach when hiring David Culley to become the franchise’s fourth head coach, and the first African-American coach in franchise history. Many people don’t know who Culley is, and even less people know his coaching history.
While Culley has never held the role of a coordinator on the NFL level, he has been a wide receivers coach, a running backs coach, quarterback coach, and a passing game coordinator. On top of these roles, he has been both an assistant head coach and a senior offensive assistant.
David Culley played quarterback at Vanderbilt University, becoming the first African-American to play that position in school history. While he did have a short stop there along his coaching journey, this is not where Culley got his coaching start.
In 1978, Culley was hired by Austin Peay — a college in Clarksville, Tennessee — to become the running backs coach. He performed this role for a year before returning to his Alma Mater to become the wide receivers coach. He was the wide receivers coach at Vanderbilt for the next three seasons.
In 1982 he served as the quarterbacks coach and the running backs coach at Middle Tennessee State University.
David Culley was the wide receivers coach at Chattanooga in 1983, and from 1985-88, Culley was the quarterbacks coach at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, which is now known as the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
From 1989-90, Culley served as the offensive coordinator at the University of Texas El-Paso (UTEP). After a two year stint, he left UTEP to become the wide receivers coach at Texas A&M, marking the first “big-time” job for the young coach. He served this role from 1991-93.
Houston Texans News: David Culley joins NFL ranks in 1994
In 1994, Culley finally graduated from the college ranks, when he became the wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 1996, after a short stint in Tampa, Culley traveled up north to become the wide receivers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, under Hall of Fame coach, Bill Cowher. In the firth two seasons as the wide receivers coach, Culley had a receiver catch for over a 1,000 yards on the season.
David Culley joined up with Reid to become the wide receivers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. This is where Culley really learned the ropes of the NFL. During his tenure as the receivers coach in Philly, he coached one of the most infamous wide receivers in the game of football, Terrell Owens.
In his 14 years at the Eagles, three of his receivers went over a 1,000 yards in a season, Owens, Kevin Curtis, and DeSean Jackson. It should be noted that Jackson did this twice during Culley’s tenure.
Reid promoted Culley to the roll of senior offensive assistant for the Eagles in 2011. When Reid got the job to become the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, Culley followed and was the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. This marked the first time that Culley was an assistant head coach.
If it wasn’t obvious before now, Reid has a lot of respect and admiration for David Culley. Look at this video posted by Fox 26 Houston’s sports director, Mark Berman:
In 2017, Culley was hired on as the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills, under head coach Sean McDermott. In his two years at the Bills, he coached both Tyrod Taylor and Josh Allen.
After coaching for two years in Buffalo, he was hired in 2019 by John Harbaugh to be the assistant head coach, wide receivers coach, and passing game coordinator for Baltimore Ravens. He coached under Harbaugh until he was hired to become the next head coach for the Houston Texans on Jan. 29, 2021.
There are many questions surrounding the Houston Texans this year, none more important than the future of franchise quarterback, Deshaun Watson. If Watson and the Texans split up, Culley is going to be fighting an uphill battle with one leg.
Former Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien left a mess in Houston, and it’s going to be Culley’s job to clean up. This clean up would be a lot easier if he an retain Watson.
No matter the difficulty, Culley has put his time into this league, and the football gods look favorably on that. He deserves a shot now, because he has been deserving of this position for nearly a decade.