The Broncos have officially hired Gary Kubiak to be their 15th head coach in franchise history.
Drafted by Denver in the eighth round of the 1983 Draft out of Texas A&M, Kubiak was John Elway's backup for nine seasons and his coach for another four. Upon retirement from playing, the Houston native went back to A&M as a running backs coach in 1992.
Two years later, in 1994, Kubiak became the 49ers' quarterbacks coach, rejoining offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan and helping Steve Young win both league MVP and SB MVP.
When Shanahan took over the Broncos in 1995, he brought Kubiak along as his OC, and together with Elway, the trio led the Broncos to back-to-back SB titles in 1997 and 1998. At the time, those two squads ranked as the highest scoring teams in franchise history.
After Denver's 2005 run to the AFC title game, Kubiak headed home to take his first head coaching job. In most of eight seasons, Kubiak led the Texans to a 61-64 record, going 2-2 in the playoffs. But it took until his sixth season for them to reach the postseason, and many believed Bob McNair would fire Kubiak after his fifth, when Houston lost 10 games.
According to Woody Paige, Elway, freshly hired by Pat Bowlen to clean up Josh McDaniels' mess, hoped to hire his old buddy at that point. But McNair stood by Kubiak until three games remained in the 2013 season, when Matt Schaub turned into a pick-six machine and the Texans ended up with the #1 overall pick.
A month before his firing, Kubiak collapsed at halftime of a game against Indy with stroke-like symptoms. But despite that serious health scare, Kubiak got right back into coaching in 2014, taking over Baltimore's offense.
Under Kubiak, Baltimore's offense scored the most points in franchise history, and Joe Flacco posted the highest ANY/A of his career.
Kubiak, 53, announced a week ago that he was staying in Baltimore, passing up opportunities to interview with the Bears and Jets regarding their head coaching vacancies. However, within 24 hours of that statement, the Broncos fired John Fox, and Kubiak's dream job (or second dream job, after Houston) had become available, and speculation began to build that Kubes would be heading back to Denver.
Not that anyone could have seen that one coming...
Expectations continue that Rick Dennison will also return to Denver, as Kubiak's offensive coordinator, while tight ends coach Brian Pariani will also reprise the role he filled for the Broncos 1995 to 2004. Earlier reports have suggested that Cincy secondary coach Vance Joseph, who interviewed for the head job on Friday, is likely to be Kubiak's DC.
Current Broncos assistants who might stick under Kubiak include Eric Studesville (running backs), Richard Smith (linebackers), and Greg Knapp (quarterbacks).
According to Mike Klis, Jeff Rodgers, Jay Rodgers, Tyke Tolbert, and Dave Magazu will probably follow Fox to Chicago, while Adam Gase may emerge as a candidate in Baltimore.
Welcome home, Kubes.