IRVING, Texas -Hudson Houck, a football coach on three levels for more than 45 years, including 29 in the NFL and 13 with the Cowboys, is officially retiring.
With his contract expiring at the end of the 2011 season, Houck said retirement has been a topic for both himself and his wife Elsie, but the last game of the season, which kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs for a second straight year, proved to be the final straw.
"It just kind of came to a head after the game," Houck said of his decision. "It was a rough game to go through. We still have our health and we have a number of our friends who aren't doing real well right and we said, 'What are we going to do? Are we going to work until we're in a walker, or what?' Retirement is something . . . we've been doing this a long time.
"We're building a home out in California. It's going to be completed here pretty soon. We've got grandkids out there. I think we're going to ease into that, and maybe play a little golf."
Houck also confirmed his replacement will be Bill Callahan, who coached the Jets offensive line the past four seasons and has head-coaching experience with the Raiders and University of Nebraska.
Houck said "the competitor in me" forced him to look up a few running game stats of both the Cowboys and Jets to see how they stacked up. Houck didn't mind mentioning the Cowboys were appreciably better in a few areas, including yards-per-attempt.
But when it comes to animosity towards head coach Jason Garrett or even owner/GM Jerry Jones, Houck has none.
"No, not at all," Houck said. "I think Jason is going to be really good head coach. And I've had a good time here. But I'm excited about where I'm going."
Houck said his only disappointment wasn't how his time with the Cowboys ended, but rather the 2011 season that saw the club lose four of its last five games and miss the playoffs.
"I'm more discouraged in how the season ended, quite honestly," Houck said. "I would've liked to gone out getting into the playoffs, which I thought we had a legitimate chance to do. And then, seeing how far we'd go. I would've felt much better about that part."
But he wasn't discouraged by the performance of his offensive line, which saw a variety of changes throughout the season, from the injuries to the shuffling of young players. Houck said the players weren't to blame, if anyone, it'd be the coaching staff, which he includes himself, that decided to go with a youth movement just before the start of the season. The Cowboys decided to waive Leonard David, Marc Colombo and then Andre Gurode before the 2011 season, replacing them with rookie Tyron Smith, second-year pro Phil Costa and rookie Bill Nagy.
"I'm really proud of the guys and the way they worked," Houck said. "If you really look at the tape, they played hard. That's all we can ask. Whoever they might be, they didn't ask to be here. We're the ones who went and got them. So if there are any problems or anyone is upset with it, the blame should go to us quite honestly."