Hooray! The Browns have a new coach.
Every couple of years, hope springs eternal in Berea.
Fans can expect to hear Browns officials bestow high praise on the new guy. In turn, the new coach will declare unwavering optimism for the team’s future.
Just for fun, we decided to check our files to see what management said during the introduction of the previous six coaches of the Browns’ expansion era — and how those coaches responded in public after getting hired.
It all sounds so familiar.
Chris Palmer 1999-2000
Browns President Carmen Policy: “Chris Palmer is the only man we offered the job to. We are delighted with the individual and we are delighted with the professional.”
Policy: “We got the man we wanted.”
Chris Palmer: “The tradition and pride of the Browns is something we will cherish and build on.”
Palmer: “There is a generation of kids that haven’t grown up as Browns fans. They’ve missed that. There are things I’d like to do with the youth that makes them Browns fans. I’d like to give that back to the youth.”
Palmer: “I don’t think it’s difficult. It’s challenging, and as a coach you look for challenges. Everything will work out.”
The result: The Browns fired Palmer on Jan. 11, 2001, after he posted a 5-27 record in two seasons.
Butch Davis 2001-2004
Browns President Carmen Policy: “The Browns’ organization is extremely pleased to have Butch Davis as our next head coach.”
Policy: “It’s always important to get your No. 1 choice. When you are in a business that is highly, highly competitive, the slightest edge makes the difference between winning and losing, makes the difference between appearing smart and looking inept. When you are talking about a choice that will occupy the most important position in the organization, arriving home with No. 1 is huge.”
Owner Al Lerner: “He is the best example I have ever seen of the complete package — his background, his experience, his resume. All of it speaks for itself, but when you spend time with him and get a sense of what he is about, it is irresistible. The coaching piece, as far as I’m concerned, is in place.”
Butch Davis: “The players are going to find out very shortly that I am very passionate about what I do.”
Davis: “It’s always going to be a challenge, and you know going into these things that there will be some tough times, that there will be some things that you have to overcome, but they are definitely doable. If you surround yourself with the right people and are committed to working hard ... it will happen.”
The result The Browns forced Davis to resign in December 2004 after a 3–8 start in his third season. He had a 24–35 record overall.
Romeo Crennel 2005-2008
Browns President John Collins: “Romeo has a lot of substance. He’s the complete coaching package. The only thing he hasn’t done is be a head coach. Everyone in the league feels he’s ready for it.”
Browns General Manager Phil Savage: “He’s one of the most respected and dignified men in the entire NFL.”
Savage: “Are we at rock bottom with both feet on the ground so we can push ourselves to the top [of the pool]? I’m not sure of that right now.”
Romeo Crennel: “I think there might be some areas that have to be rebuilt. I can only talk about one side of the ball. There were guys who were injured or didn’t play that we didn’t see.”
Crennel: “Know that, it might not happen overnight because it takes time to build a winner. But our goal and aim is to win a championship. Whether that happens next year or three years from now, who knows? If I knew that, I would’ve been a head coach a long time ago.”
The result: The Browns fired Crennel on Dec. 29, 2008, after a 4-12 season. Crennel went 24-40 in his tenure.
Eric Mangini 2009-2010
Browns President Mike Keenan: “We selected the person we believed to be the most driven, most passionate and most qualified to be the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.”
Browns owner Randy Lerner: “He’s had a chance to learn and make mistakes, now we’ll see how that plays into his effort.”
Eric Mangini: “When I first came to Cleveland I was a 23-year-old ball boy, and I had to explain that to my mother. I had a lot of student loans, and she sees this picture of 11- and 12-year-olds and I’ve got my arms around them. It’s a hard sell. I kept telling her, ‘Mom, this is the Cleveland Browns. Do you understand? THE Cleveland Browns.’ It took some explaining.”
Mangini: “When Randy called me last week, it was the same feeling. That same level of excitement, that same level of pride. It was the Dawg Pound. It was Jim Brown. It was all those special things with arguably the most storied franchise in NFL history. I remember thinking about the fans, and I thought, ‘All fans love football and they love their team. The difference is that Cleveland fans, they live football.’”
The result: The Browns fired Mangini on Jan. 3, 2011, after back-to-back 5-11 seasons and a 10-22 overall record.
Pat Shurmur 2011-2012
Browns President Mike Holmgren: “Pat is a bright, young man who grew up in football and around the coaching profession. I came away from our interview very impressed with him as a person, his extensive knowledge of the game and his track record of success as an assistant coach in this league. Most importantly, I feel as though he possesses the necessary qualities which make him the right man to lead our football team.”
Pat Shumur: “It’s an honor and a privilege to join an organization with such a rich history and tradition. I have the utmost respect for coach Holmgren and [General Manager] Tom Heckert, and I am impressed with the direction in which they have this franchise going.”
The result: The Browns fired Shurmur on Dec. 31, 2012, after he went 9–23 in his two seasons as coach.
Rob Chudzinski 2013
Browns CEO Joe Banner: “I think it was his ability through a variety of anecdotal stories and the specifics of his plan that convinced us he was the type of leader who could run the whole program, understood what he was looking for in his staff, could find those people. He’s very highly respected in the league. It’s going to make a big difference in the quality of the staff he’s going to be able to attract. I think those were the things.”
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam: “I think hiring people is both an art and a science. You got to rely on the facts and the data — and the references on Rob were outstanding. But it’s also an art. There’s an instinctive gut feel.”
Rob Chudzinski: “I am excited about this opportunity. I am excited about the chance to bring back what I grew up in and the feeling that this city and this region, this area, have [about] the Cleveland Browns. I was the kid that was in the backyard playing and pretending I was Ozzie Newsome or Brian Sipe or the greats that played for Cleveland, and the tradition of this franchise is such that the people here want a winner. I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for anything in the world. To bring back the pride, the passion, the success this franchise has had in the past, I want to be part of that.”
The result: The Browns fired Chudzinski on Dec. 29 after he went 4-12.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mark J. Price is a Beacon Journal copy editor. He can be reached at 330-996-3850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mark J. Price - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)
©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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