CLEVELAND (AP) — Like so many Browns coaches before him, Kevin Stefanski won the news conference. As he’ll soon find out, the games will be so much tougher.
The former Vikings offensive coordinator was introduced Tuesday as Cleveland’s new coach, the 18th in the team’s history and 10th since the Browns expansion return in 1999. He’s also the sixth hired in just the past eight years by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, whose atrocious track record with coaches and front office executives — and bad draft picks — best explains the Browns’ inability to win.
The 37-year-old Stefanski exuded confidence and passion as he embarked on his first head coaching gig after working as an assistant in 2006 with Minnesota, where he learned a variety of jobs that prepared him to lead an NFL franchise.
Stefanski was joined at the news conference at FirstEnergy Stadium by his wife, Michelle, their three young children, along with his three brothers. He was also accompanied by his mom, Karen, and dad, Ed, a longtime NBA executive who currently works as an adviser with the Detroit Pistons.
Stefanski used a basketball analogy to describe the kind of coach he wants to be with the Browns.
“I want to be the point guard for this organization,” he said. “I want to bring the ball up and I want to share the basketball and let someone else get an easy bucket.”
Stefanski was a finalist for Cleveland’s job last year, when the team picked Freddie Kitchens after his successful half-season stint as offensive coordinator. Kitchens, though, proved to be the wrong hire and was fired after the Browns went 6-10 and didn’t come close to reaching expectations.
But Stefanski said he was undeterred despite not being picked last year or the Browns’ quick trigger with Kitchens.
“And I’m undaunted,” he said. “And I think the challenge is there and I can’t wait to be a part of this change. Why am I confident about that? Because I’ve been in the building, I know the people that we have, I know we’re going to add to that building, I know we’re going to add players, as happens in the NFL. But I’m excited for this challenge and I’m ready for it.”
Stefanski is in the early phases of putting together his staff, and the Browns are still in the process of hiring a new general manager to replace John Dorsey.
Jimmy Haslam said the team will be methodical in selecting a GM. The team has scheduled interviews with Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry and Vikings assistant GM George Paton.