CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns have hired Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as their next head coach the team confirmed late Thursday night.
Chudzinski, who interviewed with owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner on Wednesday, spent the last 2 seasons in Carolina and he will become the Browns’ 6th head coach since 1999.
He will be introduced at a press conference Friday morning in Berea at 11 a.m.
Chudzinski re-joins the Browns organization, where he spent the 2004 season as tight ends coach and 2007-08 as offensive coordinator. In 2007, he orchestrated Cleveland’s best offense in terms of total yards (5,621), passing yards (3,726) and points scored (402) since the club’s return in 1999.
After the Browns won 10 games, which are the most victories by the team since 1994 (11), Chudzinski received a contract extension and raise when teams showed interest in him as a potential head coach during the following offseason but was fired along with the rest of the coaching staff after a 4-12 2008 season.
The 44 year old Chudzinski was born and raised in Toledo where grew up a Browns fan.
Former Chargers coach Norv Turner will join Chudzkini’s staff as his offensive coordinator a source tells 92.3 The Fan. Chudzinski was the assistant head coach/tight ends coach under Turner prior to joining the Panthers.
It’s also believed that the Browns will switch back to the 3-4 defensive scheme – which was run in Cleveland from 2005-2010.
The Browns began their search to replace Pat Shurmur, who was fired on Dec. 31, last week in Arizona where they interviewed former Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
O’Brien chose to remain at Penn State after receiving a reported $1.3 million per year raise, Marrone was hired by the Buffalo Bills Sunday morning and Kelly chose to return to Eugene after extensive interviews with both the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
In the end, Chudzinski won the job.
He now hopes the third time in Cleveland will be the charm.