As expected, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith was the first candidate to be interviewed to replace Gary Kubiak as the Texans’ head coach.

Smith interviewed earlier this week, according to multiple people familiar with the process.

Smith, 55, was fired after the Bears finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs in 2012.

During his nine years with the Bears, Smith was 81-63, including 3-3 in the playoffs. His teams won three NFC North titles and lost Super Bowl XLI to Indianapolis.

Smith isn’t coaching this season but plans to return.

He should be a leading candidate for several jobs once owners start firing coaches after the season ends.

Smith is a native Texan who grew up in Big Sandy and played on state championship teams.