Winter 2023

DeMeco Ryans introduced as Texans head coach, says God has 'paved the way for me'

Plenty of teams were interested in interviewing DeMeco Ryans for their head coaching position, but there was no doubt in Ryans’ mind which job he wanted. The Houston Texans wanted their former player pretty badly too, and introduced Ryans as the sixth coach in franchise history Thursday.

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“When it came down to it, there is no place I wanted to be [more] than [Houston],” Ryans said at his introductory press conference. “It was an easy pick. For me, it’s a no-brainer. To be here, to be home, it’s a no-brainer, so it wasn’t a difficult decision at all.”

The Texans selected Ryans with the 33rd pick of the 2006 draft, and he spent the first six years of his career with the franchise. He started all 16 games in five of those six seasons and made the Pro Bowl twice.

Ryans retired after the 2015 season and started his coaching career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. In five years, Ryans went from being a quality control coach to the team’s inside linebackers coach to its defensive coordinator.

Under Ryans’ leadership, the 49ers allowed the fewest yards (300.6) and points (16.3) per game in the NFL this season. The performance of his defense and the 49ers’ run to the NFC championship game made the 38-year-old one of the most sought-after candidates for teams making a change at head coach.

All through his rapid ascent up the coaching ranks, Ryans has leaned on his faith in God, which was introduced to him by his mother.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m so happy for my mom instilling that into me at a young age,” Ryans told Sports Spectrum as San Francisco prepared for Super Bowl LIV in 2020, “because now as I continue to grow older and older, that’s the only thing that truly matters. That’s the only thing — our relationship with Jesus Christ.”

At Thursday’s press conference, Ryans talked about how thankful he was that his mom made faith part of his life and gave glory to God for getting what he’s called his dream job.

“It’s a surreal moment for me, and I’m thankful to God that He’s just paved the way for me through everything that I’ve been through in life,” he said.

Many of Ryans’ former teammates with the Texans were in attendance Thursday to offer their support.

As part of the 49ers’ coaching staff, Ryans played a crucial role in the development of several defensive players drafted by the organization, including All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner.

He also participated in coaches’ Bible studies led by team chaplain Earl Smith. The studies helped Ryans continue to grow in his faith and keep everything in perspective.

“You’ve got to keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s why we’re all here — and that’s by the grace of God,” Ryans told Sports Spectrum. “Why are we in the position that we’re in? Why are we able to do what we do? That’s by God blessing us with this awesome opportunity to reach back and teach these young men, help these young men.”

As he begins the next part of his coaching journey and tries to turn around a Texans team coming off a 3-13-1 season, Ryans knows he needs to keep God at the center of everything he does.

“We have to stay grounded in the Word,” he told Sports Spectrum. “We can get caught up in our work, a lot of long hours, a lot of long days. But you can’t forget what sustains us, and that’s Jesus Christ. He sustains us.”

One of the first orders of business for Ryans will be preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft. Houston has five picks in the first three rounds, including the No. 2 and No. 12 overall selections.

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