Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Chudzinski thrilled to get Browns’ coaching job

CLEVELAND — Rob Chudzinski’s roots run 44 years deep with the Browns.

As a kid, he buckled on his orange helmet and ran around his backyard in Toledo, Ohio, pretending he was Ozzie Newsome. He sat outside in the snow and watched Cleveland games on TV through the window to make it feel like he was in the Dawg Pound.

He chomped on dog biscuits.

On Friday, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came true for Chudzinski, who was introduced as the Browns’ sixth fulltime coach since 1999. Although he has never been a head coach, “Chud” was selected over candidates with more experience and stronger resumes.

Chudzinski, though, stood out. He wanted it more than anyone.

“It’s a dream come true, almost unbelievable in a lot of ways,” Chudzinski said.

There is a segment of Browns fans as stunned as Chudzinski, whose hiring seemed to come out of nowhere.

After interviewing several high-profile candidates, including Oregon coach Chip Kelly, former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt and other top coordinators, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner picked Chudzinski, who spent the past two years as Carolina’s offensive coordinator.

Haslam said he spoke with “nine or 10 of the best coaches in the country” and insisted Chudzinski was on the team’s list of candidates from the outset.

“Rob was always on our radar screen,” Haslam said of his first coaching hire. “Rob has been identified as a top, bright, young guy for a long time. I feel very confident we’ve got the right guy.”

This is Chudzinski’s third stint with the Browns. He coached Cleveland’s tight ends in 2004 and was the team’s offensive coordinator in 2007-08. In his first season calling plays, the Browns went 10-6 and had four players make the Pro Bowl. It hasn’t been nearly as good since he left

“Happy to see Chud coming back,” Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas said in an email to the AP. “We had a good year in 2007. Very smart offensive mind. When he left, I knew he’d be a great head coach someday!”

Chudzinski’s first task is to assemble his staff. He’ll speak with the assistants still under contract and is confident he’ll be able to bring in quality coaches to build the Browns into a consistent winner. Chudzinski would not comment on any specific candidates. There are reports he’ll hire former San Diego coach Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator.

Chudzinski was the Chargers tight ends coach under Turner.

Working on an hour’s sleep after getting his dream job. Chudzinski would not comment on any players on Cleveland’s current roster. He said his philosophy will be to “attack” on offense and defense and he feels the Browns have the versatility to run a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.

The 44-year-old Chudzinski interviewed for head coaching jobs last year with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay before returning for his second season with Carolina, where he spent two years working with quarterback Cam Newton.

When he left the Browns for the second time in 2008, Chudzinski always thought he would return to Cleveland.

“I remember the last game walking out of the stadium and looking across the field, somehow knowing I’d be back somehow, someway,” he said.

The Browns had a whirlwind courtship with Chudzinski. Haslam and Banner spent last week in Arizona, where they spoke to at least five known candidates. They got deep in talks with Kelly before backing away because of the offensive mastermind’s indecision about jumping to the NFL.

The team rebooted its search and spoke with several other candidates including Whisenhunt, who was in Cleveland on Thursday for a second interview. Chudzinski met with the Browns on Wednesday at Haslam’s estate on Lake Erie, where he laid out his coaching philosophies.

“Rob was very decisive,” Haslam said. “‘This is how I’m going to do things. I’m an offensive guy, but here’s my role on defense. Here’s my role on special teams. Here are the type of people I would bring in as coordinators, here are the type of coaches.’ It was just very definitive.”

Chudzinski received a phone call on Thursday that Haslam and Banner wanted to have dinner with him in Charlotte, N.C. They had been impressed with Chudzinski’s thoroughness in the first interview, but wanted to spend more time with him.

“”We felt very positively that Rob was the man,” Haslam said. “This organization has had a lot of change in terms of leadership, so it was exceptionally important that we get that right. An hour through dinner, we felt like that definitely this was the right guy.”

Haslam said he wasn’t aware of Chudzinski’s Ohio background or his love for the Browns.

“It’s a great story, but if Rob had been from Plano, Texas, we’d have hired him,” Haslam said.

Banner has tracked Chudzinski’s career for some time as he does with “the best young people in the league.” It was Banner who had plucked Andy Reid, a then-unknown assistant from Green Bay, and hired him as Philadelphia’s head coach in 1999. Reid spent 14 years with the Eagles before he was recently fired.

Now that they’ve hired a coach, Haslam and Banner will focus on finding a new general manager to help pick players for Chudzinski, who will be involved in finding the next GM.

Chudzinski has it better than any of his five predecessors in Cleveland. He inherits a young roster with more talent than the team has had in years, and it’s his job to develop a team that has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons.

Chudzinski understands Cleveland’s passion for football — and its pain.

He knows the heartbreak felt by Browns fans, who are still waiting for their team to make the Super Bowl. He knows it because he’s felt it, too.

The Browns have had other coaches, but never one so intensely attached to the team. Chudzinski could have stayed in Carolina and waited for another head coaching job to come along. But there’s no other job that could match this one.

To Chudzinski, this was the only one.

“I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity for anything in the world,” he said. “To bring back the pride, the passion, the success this franchise has had in the past, I want to be part of that.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Bay Area makes growth plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Supervisor candidates vary on Plan Bay Area

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Earth Day means cleanup Day for Suisun City

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hop to it: Couple lights up home, yard for Easter

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

Ranking the best Bay Area athletes

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
The Edge hosts Easter egg hunt

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

Alooma Temple keeps children in mind

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield author to speak at women’s expo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

The resurrection has changed the lives of Christians

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Piano scholarship competition set in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Understanding your health insurance

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: D4

 
Armijo graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

Highway 12 paving to slow traffic east of Rio Vista

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5

 
Record Store Day a commercial hit

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Easter egg hunt brings out the smiles

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. joins Fairfield coffee corridor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 1 Comment | Gallery

City sets plan to dispose of property assets

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Counties tell Brown they need money for his law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
San Francisco probe leading to entrapment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Exhibit recreates Warhol’s 1964 World’s Fair mural

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Documents detail another delayed GM recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Government … for the government?

By Bill James | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Neighborhood speeders don’t get it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Why would a person do this?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Sound off for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Jeb Bush, love, and today’s GOP

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A9

Statistical frauds distort equal-pay debate

By Thomas Sowell | From Page: A9

 
Are government ‘carrots’ fair, worthwhile?

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A9

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Bill Nye says he underestimated debate’s impact

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 1 Comment

 
Book details lives of cloistered nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes for April 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D4

 
Pete spends weekends at my house but he never invites me to his

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D4

.

Entertainment

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Tartt, Goodwin finalists for Carnegie medals

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book on fracking illuminates pros, cons

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

A’s score 3 in 9th, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings, Sharks look to put Game 1 in past

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stults, Padres hand Giants third straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raptors GM Ujiri uses profanity about Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Durant leads Thunder past Grizzlies 100-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Indians set two new school records for track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Wie shoots 67, wins LPGA LOTTE Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Travis Bowl Highlights

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Rapids, Earthquakes play to scoreless tie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Stars Recreation bowling results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Jimenez leads Langer by 1 shot in Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Award-winning archery champ shoots with his teeth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survivors keep busy as Boston Marathon approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

US delays review of contentious Keystone pipeline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Subscription sample boxes shake up beauty routines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Girls from modest families get lift in technology

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Haunted house part of San Antonio apartment lofts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
Recalls this week: lanterns, exercise devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

Review: Siri-like Cortana fills Windows phone gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Obituaries

Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Margaret Elizabeth Silva

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Lloyd G. Hoffmeister

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Ramon Isidro

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Rogelio Tinoco-Zamudio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
James Leroy Barbour

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

William Paul Wehrly

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics