ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Gary Kubiak retired as Broncos coach on Monday because of health reasons, one day after the team finished the regular-season with a 24-6 win over the Oakland Raiders and news broke that he would retire because of health reasons, the team announced.
Several players said after Sunday's win that Kubiak had told them that he would be stepping down after two seasons that included a Super Bowl championship last season.
At an emotional Monday morning news conference at team headquarters, Kubiak thanked everyone in the organization, media members and the fans.
"I'm retiring from coaching," he said. "I'm getting out of coaching. ... It's time for me to step away from coaching. I love to work and I love football, but ultimately the demands of the job are no longer a good fit for me."
Broncos general manager John Elway said he and Kubiak talked about his decision multiple times but a conversation in Kansas City over Christmas weekend made it certain the coach was “dead set on starting a new chapter in his life.”
On Oct. 9, Kubiak was rushed to a hospital after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. He was diagnosed with a complex migraine condition that caused extreme fatigue and body weakness.
He missed the next game under doctors’ orders and returned Oct. 23.
In 2013, Kubiak, then coach of the Houston Texans, collapsed on the field while walking to the locker room at halftime. He was later diagnosed as suffering a mini-stroke.
"I gave everything I had to this team the last two seasons, but this year has been tough on me," Kubiak said. "As hard as it is to leave this position, I know that it's the best thing for myself, my family and the Denver Broncos."
In 2015, general manager John Elway picked his former teammate to get the Broncos over the top after playoff disappointments under John Fox, including a 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII and two home playoff losses after having a bye.
Kubiak, who backed up Elway from 1983 to 1991 and was the team's offensive offensive coordinator from 1995 to 2005, signed a four-year contract as the Broncos' 15th coach and guided them to their third Super Bowl championship in 2015, winning Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.
The offseason was a rocky one, with several players leaving via free agency and quarterback Peyton Manning retiring.
Still, the Broncos started 4-0 and were on their way to a return trip to the postseason until the defeat to the Falcons began a stretch of seven losses in 11 games.
After Sunday's win, the Broncos finished 9-7 but out of the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Kubiak went 24-11 in his two seasons, the most wins in the first two years in team history.
"He gave everything he had and we won a lot of games along the way," Elway said. "The way Gary led the team and managed a challenging situation during our Super Bowl run was one of the best coaching jobs I've ever seen."
Kubiak was the Broncos' 15th coach since they were founded in 1960. Elway said a search will begin immediately and that there were three or four candidates the organization will target. Elway said no current members of the coaching staff will be considered for promotion.
Kubiak released a statement ahead of the news conference.
“As I told our team last night, this is an extremely difficult decision to step down as head coach. I love to work and I love football, but ultimately the demands of the job are no longer a good fit for me.
“I gave everything I had to this team the last two seasons, but this year, in particular, has been tough on me. As hard as it is to leave this position, I know that it’s the best thing for myself, my family and the Denver Broncos.
“I’ve been blessed to spend more than two decades with the Broncos working for Mr. Bowlen and a great organization from top to bottom. I’m forever grateful to this team, in particular John Elway and Joe Ellis, for giving me the opportunity to serve as its head coach. There are countless others to thank, including players, coaches, personnel staff, trainers, support staff and fans.
“Although we fell short of our goals this year, I’m proud of our teams these past two seasons. Helping to bring Mr. Bowlen, his family and this organization its third Super Bowl is something that will always be very special to me.
“I’m not sure what my future holds, but I know that I’ll always consider myself a Bronco. This team is in good hands with a lot of outstanding people, and I expect great things ahead for the Denver Broncos.”
Elway also released a statement praising Kubiak.
“When Gary informed me of his decision to step down as head coach, I was obviously saddened and disappointed. But, I understand and respect Gary for doing what’s right for him as well as his family.
“From the time he was hired as head coach, Gary worked to get the most out of the players to push this team over the top. He gave everything he had, and we won a lot of games along the way. The way Gary led the team and managed a challenging situation during our Super Bowl run was one of the best coaching jobs I’ve ever seen.
“Gary’s been a teammate, co-worker and, most importantly, a friend for more than 30 years. Without a doubt, he’s left the Broncos in a better place than when he stepped off that plane from Houston two years ago.
“I appreciate all Gary has done for us. On behalf of our entire organization, I thank him and wish him all the best.”