Chudzinski, who spent the past two seasons as Carolina’s offensive coordinator, was introduced as the club’s sixth fulltime coach on Friday. He’ll inherit a young roster he’ll try to develop into a contender with the Browns, who have lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons.
The 44-year-old previously worked as an assistant with the Browns, most recently as offensive coordinator in 2008. Chudzinski has no previous head coaching experience, but he’s familiar with the Browns and their history. He rooted for the Browns while growing up in Toledo, Ohio.
“I would not miss the chance for the world.” Chudzinski said. “We’re going to win here.”
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
The Browns hauled their search to find the 14th coach in franchise history to Arizona and back. They talked to high-profile college coaches, NFL assistants and a fired pro coach who took a team to a Super Bowl.
None of them was hired.
Instead, Chudzinski became their pick.
Just as it appeared the Browns might be going in another direction, the team selected Chudzinski to revive a team that has made the playoffs just once in the past 14 years. The Browns spoke to at least seven other candidates and flirted with Chip Kelly before he returned to Oregon.
“Chud,” as he’s known to players and friends, Chudzinski worked as the Browns‘ tight ends coach in 2004 and was their offensive coordinator in 2007, when the team won 10 games _ their most since an expansion rebirth in 1999.
A lifelong Browns fan who grew up in Toledo, Ohio, Chudzinski replaces Pat Shurmur, another first-time coach when he was hired, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 5-11 season. For the past two years, Chudzinski has worked with talented Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and resuscitated Carolina’s offense, which was one of the league’s worst before he arrived.
When Haslam and Banner embarked on their coaching search as 2013 began, the pair vowed they would wait as long as necessary to find “the right coach” for Cleveland. They promised to give their new coach final say over the roster and planned to pair him with an executive to help pick players.
Chudzinski wasn’t seen by many as an option.
And then he became the choice.
Chudzinski interviewed with the team on Wednesday, when the club also visited with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Chudzinski appeared to be a long shot for the job, not because he wasn’t qualified, but because it was thought Haslam wanted to make a big splash with his first coaching hire.