A Texans season that began with Super Bowl aspirations collapsed to an unthinkable 11 straight losses, an NFL-worst 2-11 record and, now, a head-coaching search.

Gary Kubiak was fired by Texans owner Bob McNair on Friday.

Kubiak led the Texans to back-to-back AFC South division titles and the franchise’s only two playoff victories in the last two seasons but finished 61-64, just three games shy of completing his eighth full season as the head coach of his hometown team.

McNair made the decision on the flight home following Thursday night’s 27-20 nationally televised loss to Jacksonville — the Texans’ second loss in 11 days to the Jaguars, who owned the NFL’s worst record before their win in Houston.

About 10 minutes after Kubiak’s 11 a.m. day-after news conference was scheduled to begin Friday, a forlorn McNair walked into the press room at Reliant Stadium, flanked by general manager Rick Smith and Texans vice chairman Cal McNair.

“It was difficult for me because I think so much of Gary,” said McNair, obviously distraught over the decision. “It’s something that I didn’t want to do, but you do what’s best for the organization. We’re thankful for the job that he’s done for us.”

McNair promoted defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to interim coach for the last three games against Indianapolis, Denver and Tennessee.

Phillips, who has a career record of 82-61 as a head coach, will be a candidate for the permanent position. Expected to be among the other candidates are former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Stanford coach David Shaw.

McNair said interviews to find Kubiak’s replacement will begin immediately. Rick Smith and Cal McNair also will be part of the interview process.

“We’re looking for a coach that’s bright, ethical, whose culture fits in with the culture of our organization, innovative, flexible, able to make adjustments, works with great energy and enthusiasm and is very positive in his approach,” McNair said.

Also at the news conference, McNair said Case Keenum will be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

Later on Friday, the Texans also fired special teams coordinator Joe Marciano, who joined the organization in its inaugural season of 2002, and replaced him with Bob Ligashesky, the assistant special teams coach.

Lovie Smith led the Bears to a Super Bowl before getting fired after posting a 10-6 record last season. Shaw has an NFL background as an assistant coach and is 33-6 in three seasons as the head coach at Stanford.