Browns Hire Kevin Stefanski As Head Coach

Jan. 13: The Browns have formally announced the hire. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Cleveland has given Stefanski a five-year contract (Twitter link).

Jan. 12: The Browns will hire Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports (via Twitter) that it’s a done deal. Stefanski was the runner-up for the Cleveland HC gig last year, and after Freddie Kitchen‘s disastrous 2019 campaign resulted in his dismissal, the Browns have circled back to the man many believe they should have hired in the first place.

Stefanski has served in a variety of roles for the Vikings since joining the organization back in 2006, including stints as the tight ends coach, running backs coach, and quarterbacks coach. The 37-year-old was named interim offensive coordinator following the firing of John DeFilippo during the 2018 season, and he earned the full-time gig prior to the 2019 campaign.

During Stefanski’s first full season at the helm, the Vikings ranked as a top-10 offense in points. The coach led the trio of Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Mike Boone to top-six rankings in rushing yards and touchdowns, and he also helped quarterback Kirk Cousins have one of the best seasons of his career. Although the Vikings laid an egg in Saturday’s divisional round loss to the 49ers, Cleveland was obviously undeterred.

The Browns’ coaching search saw them interview eight candidates, as our 2020 head coaching search tracker shows (former Baylor HC Matt Rhule, who ultimately accepted the Panthers’ head coaching job, turned down the opportunity to interview with Cleveland). Browns chief strategist Paul DePodesta piloted the search, and recent reports indicated that he had narrowed his list to Stefanski and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, though Cabot tweets that Stefanski and 49ers DC Robert Saleh were the two finalists.

Interestingly, DePodesta’s contract with Cleveland is reportedly set to expire, but given his role in the coaching search, it seems likely that the Browns will retain him. However, the team continues to search for a new GM, and Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry may have just become the leading candidate for that role, as his analytically-driven approach meshes with Stefanski’s.

Meanwhile, Vikings QB coach Klint Kubiak could follow Stefanski to Cleveland to become the Browns’ new OC, as Mike Klis of 9News.com tweets.

With the Stefanski hire, the 2020 head coaching cycle has come to a stop. The Browns were the last of the five teams with a head coaching vacancy this year to hire their HC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (71)
newest oldest

71 comments on “Browns Hire Kevin Stefanski As Head Coach

    • Kevin Stefanski is a good enough coach, but I’m not sure he has enough of the Force in him to turn around twenty years of losing at the Mistake by the Lake. Cleveland should have been snapping at Mike McCarthy or Ron Rivera, coaches with a history of winning and strong personalities.

      I wish Stefanski luck though. He’s going to need it.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I don’t think Mayfield or Beckham would respond to a coach that would try to subdue them with a strong personality. Stefanski seems much more flexible than Mike or Ron would be and today’s players are seeking that in their coaches.

    • The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla

      This is the Clowns, so I predict he’ll be gone during Training Camp.

    • No way he lasts more than two years, irrespective of performance. They could go 0-16 or 16-0 with a Super Bowl and Jimmy Haslem will find some reason to fire him. Most incompetent owner in sports.

        • Snyder normally gives his coaches a reasonable chance. The drafting was cleaned up in the last four years in Washington. The cancer was player relations with Bruce Allen, who, thank heavens, is finally out.

          Imagine neither signing nor trading Kirk Cousins. Then leaving your only current All Pro on holdout instead of trading him for at least a first round draft pick (handled with aplomb, early: Trent Wiliams).

          Theoretically Alex Smith trade was a good one but there’s no way Kendall Fuller should have been in the package and there was no need to guarantee three years of a four year contract (over-compensating for Cousins’ debacle). No one could know that Alex Smith would suffer what will probably turn out to be a career ending injury in the middle of his first season, but nobody could exclude it either for a mid-thirties QB.

          In any case, Snyder + Allen was worst ownership/management in the league. Snyder might do alright as a hands-off owner with a strong head coach in house (current situation).

    • jb19

      Should the last two years be ignored based on yesterday’s road performance vs the best defense in the NFL coming off a bye? Clown comment.

      • Steven Juris

        Cousins always sucks vs good defenses. It’s in his nature to do that. He goes into a shell when faced with pressure. He belongs in a soft division where teams don’t play defense. He is useless against good defenses. He can’t beat SF, GB or Chi.

  1. SpiderManFromMars

    Works for me, as long as everyone involved is on board w/ the hiring. I’d rather they hire the guy they really want, rather than hire a guy just because the fanbase wants them.

  2. bigun

    My guess is that this was their guy all along and they were just waiting for the Vikings season to be over before making the announcement.

  3. Thronson5

    I personally think this is a bad hire. But that’s just my opinion and I’m no expert, clearly. I feel to get the most of that offense they should’ve hired McDaniels but McDaniels stays and maybe Bill retires after this coming season then McDaniels can take over in NE. I know he failed in Denver but that was a long time ago and even some of the best coaches have had rough starts to their coaching careers. I guess we will have to wait and see but I really just don’t like this hire, doesn’t seem like a good fit. For that team, for their fans and for Cleveland I hope I’m wrong and I hope it works out…they deserve to turn it around already!

    • monymgr

      I like the hire as I think it could be great for Mayfield and the entire offense .

    • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

      Which is kinda funny, since Belichik went 36–44 with the team and had only one winning season. It doesn’t make the comment wrong by any means, just a sad state of affairs.

  4. metsie1

    They apparently weren’t watching the Vikings offense. Not a good fit. Browns fumble yet again.

  5. captainchaos55

    I am not a Browns fan. However I do like the hire. My issue is with Baker Mayfield, as I don’t think he’s truly going to be good enough. When all said and done, I think his career will be at best Andy Dalton / Derrick Carr. But I could easily see him go down like Marcus Mariota. He is too arrogant and makes a lot of mistakes.

  6. bens04ter

    good luck with this hire…overrated and not ready to be a discipline guy for that entire brows roster

  7. natsfan3437

    Was he the one calling plays before Gary Kubiack was hired? If so this was a bad hire, when Gary starting calling plays the offense became much better l.

  8. wordonthestreet

    Josh McDaniels obviously is not great hope he was made out to be.

    • Josh McDaniels burned a lot of bridges with that failed press conference in Indianapolis. Who wants to take a chance on such a capricious prom queen?

  9. partyatnapolis

    i swear, the browns could hire bill belichick and you guys would still find reason to call it the worst hire ever. any reason to hate on them lol

    • Phattey

      Statistically speaking from the amount of head coaches the browns have hired them fired if you say they’re trash and are upset about the hire you have a more than 97% chance of being correct based on the previous hires since they were brought back into the league

  10. kjt404

    I got the feeling McDaniels assumed this was his job to lose. Dude cucked himself when he bailed on the Colts gig, after accepting the job & getting others to leave their jobs to join him. Karma.

  11. mcase7187

    Ok most of you don’t like the the pick
    ok I get that but who did you guys want

    Ps NO real coach wants that clown/joke of a QB who is so full of himself it’s crazy

    • Steven Juris

      Good now you will enjoy Stefanskis QB calling vs good defenses which is have the QB go drop back 5 yards and sit down.

    • dkcsmc1991

      Not against the hire but thought they were targeting someone with head coaching experience but into analytics?

    • dkcsmc1991

      Play the race card. This is the same owner who hired High Jackson, Ray Farmer, Andrew Berry, Sashi Brown so your comment is pure ignorance.

  12. sufferfortribe

    Considering I was okay with the hirings of Jackson and Kitchens, and totally against this one, maybe I’ll be wrong again and he’ll turn out fine?

  13. footballgrl415

    Best decision for them! McDaniel would not have liked the structure of the organization.

  14. 70sChild

    Might as well give the man a chance. Ownership is your problem there, so there’s no guarantee a big name coach is going to succeed…see the Redskins.

  15. bumpy93

    I’m glad Josh McDaniels didn’t get the browns job b/c of what he did to the colts after the 2017 season. He agreed to be the colts Hc but changed his mind the day he was suppose to sign the deal. that made the colts panic and take Frank Reich from my eagles. I love that he wanted this job but didn’t get it

  16. Sky14

    The man couldn’t even handle the coordinator duties without supervision from Kubiak.

  17. JD396

    Can the Vikings bring him back after the. Browns annual coach firing next year?

  18. gregstruth89

    This guy sucks. Even with an all pro qb in cousins. Wow. Were they amazed with how well the viqueens have done this last year?

Leave a Reply