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NFL Panthers Fire Coach John Fox; Texans to Keep Kubiak at Helm

Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texas
Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texas looks on as he faces the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado. Photographer: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers, who have the National Football League’s worst record at 2-13 this season, won’t renew the contracts of head coach John Fox and his staff, the team said on its website.

The Houston Texans, with a 5-10 record, will probably retain coach Gary Kubiak for a sixth season in 2011, the Houston Chronicle reported yesterday, citing two people familiar with the team who requested anonymity.

Fox, 55, has compiled a 73-70 regular-season record in nine seasons with the Panthers, taking Carolina to the Super Bowl in 2003. His last game will be the season finale tomorrow at Atlanta.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said in a team statement that “it is time for both sides to move in different directions.”

“I appreciate the opportunity Mr. Richardson gave me to be a head coach in the National Football League nine years ago and to be a part of this organization,” Fox said in a statement on the team’s website.

Texans owner Bob McNair believes the offense, which averages 379 yards per game, is on the right track under Kubiak’s direction and expects to hire a big-name defensive coordinator this offseason, the Chronicle said. The Houston defense has given up 29.2 points per game this year, third most in the league. The team hasn’t reached the playoffs in Kubiak’s five years as coach.

McNair would like the defensive coordinator to be Wade Phillips, the Chronicle said. Phillips, whose father, Bum, coached the Houston Oilers before that franchise moved to Nashville, was fired as coach of the Dallas Cowboys in November after a 1-7 start. To make room for Wade Phillips, McNair is expected to fire current defensive coordinator Frank Bush, according to the Chronicle.

Texans spokesman Kevin Cooper said in a telephone interview that McNair would wait until after the season ends tomorrow to make coaching decisions, and that any moves would come “earlier than later.”

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