Former Washington Redskins general manager Charley Casserly was named executive vice president and general manager of the NFL's expansion franchise in Houston yesterday after agreeing to a multiyear contract to build a team that will not play until the 2002 season.

Team owner Robert McNair said Casserly, 50, will be in charge of all football operations for the league's 32nd team. Casserly was introduced at a news conference in Houston yesterday afternoon after completing negotiations on a contract earlier in the day.

"This is not an on-the-job training program," McNair said. "We want people with a track record and success at this level. We did not interview a lot of people, but we looked around a lot."

Since being fired as the Redskins' general manager by team owner Daniel M. Snyder before the start of the 1999 season, Casserly has been listed as a consultant to the Redskins. Casserly kept his hand in the game by scouting college games and watching game tape every week at NFL Films headquarters outside Philadelphia. He also did some radio and television work for ESPN and local stations.

"I knew every day I went to work I was fired," Casserly said of his last weeks reporting to Redskin Park after Snyder was approved as the team's owner in June. "When Dan Snyder officially took over the team, it was a matter of whether I would leave then or in six months. I wanted to go then so I could look for another job. I was prepared to do that. Now, this is the best thing that ever happened to me because I'm here now."

Casserly's availability came at a fortuitous time for him, with several teams interested in his services in recent weeks, including the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. McNair said yesterday that the team likely will wait until after the 2000 season to hire a coach.

"We, as a family, came to the conclusion that Houston was the best fit for us," Casserly said. "The toughest calls I had to make were to the other teams to tell them I was not interested."

McNair mentioned Casserly as a possible candidate to run his team's operations from the day he was awarded the franchise last fall. The two had a number of telephone conversations and met for the first time about 10 days ago.