CLEVELAND (WJW)-- If you're having trouble remembering all the men who helmed the Browns before Freddie Kitchens, it's OK. We have you covered.
Here's a look back at Cleveland's head coaches since 1999:
Chris Palmer was tasked with leading the Browns in their return to the NFL. He didn't have any pro head coaching experience, and went 2-14 and 3-13 in two seasons. He went on to serve as offensive coordinator for the Houston Texas and Tennessee Titans. Most recently, Palmer was an offensive assistant under Rex Ryan for the Buffalo Bills until 2016.
Butch Davis resigned after nearly four years with the Browns. He dealt with a quarterback controversy when he started backup Kelly Holcomb for an injured Tim Couch, then kept Holcomb in the starting role. Davis is the only coach on this list to lead the Browns in a playoff game. Cleveland lost in the 2002 Wild Card game to the Steelers, 33-36. He later returned to coaching at the collegiate level, at North Carolina and FIU.
Terry Robiskie started his NFL career as a running back. He was on the Raiders and Redskins coaching staffs, before becoming the Browns wide receivers coach, then offensive coordinator. The Browns named him interim head coach following Butch Davis' departure. Robiskie interviewed to be the permanent head coach, but the Browns went with Romeo Crennel. Robiskie remained on the Browns staff until 2007. For the next several seasons, he was the wide receivers coach for the Atlanta Falcons, where he was credited with helping to develop Julio Jones and Roddy White. He spent this season as running backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Romeo Crennel first worked for the Browns as defensive coordinator in 2000. The following season, he coached under Bill Belichick at the New England Patriots. Crennel returned to Cleveland as head coach in 2005. He led the Browns to a 10-6 record in 2007, their second winning-record since returning to the league in 1999. But the team failed to make the playoffs. Browns owner Randy Lerner fired him soon after getting ride of general manager Phil Savage. Crennel got another head coaching gig with the Kansas City Chiefs. Since 2018, he's served as assistant coach and defensive coordinator of the Houston Texans.
Eric Mangini began his coaching career under Bill Belichick (Noticing a theme here?) at the Cleveland Browns. The two reunited in New England and then, in 2009, Mangini became the next head coach of the Browns. During his time in Cleveland, he handled a lengthy list of starting quarterbacks: Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace and Colt McCoy. The 2010 season was the year of running back Peyton Hillis. (What a time to be alive.) Like other coaches of Cleveland's past, Mangini found other NFL jobs. He was a tight ends coach and defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. And don't forget, he's a three-time Super Bowl champion.
For those keeping track, the Browns had a 64-129 record until this point. And we're about to pick up the pace. Pat Shurmur worked his way from college coaching to the NFL, and in 2011, then-Browns president Mike Holmgren named him the new head coach. Ahead of his second season, Cleveland selected running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. (Man, this was a odd time to be a Browns fan.) But that didn't jumpstart the team's offense. The Browns fired Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert as they headed into the Jimmy Haslam era of ownership. Shurmur was recently fired by the New York Giants.
It was one and done for this Ohio native. He was the Browns tight ends coach in 2004, and the offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2008. So it was a shock when the man who said he's a, "Cleveland Brown to the core" was fired as head coach. He spent the following four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.
Mike Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets, then the Buffalo Bills before coming to Cleveland. But the Browns continued their trend of finishing fourth in the AFC North. The Browns fired Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer, who drafted Johnny Manziel. This is marks the rise of Sashi Brown. Don't worry about Pettine. He's settled nicely into his current role as defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers.
On paper, Hue Jackson seemed like a decent choice to be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns. He had an extensive career at the collegiate level before making the jump to the NFL as running backs coach with the Washington Redskins. He worked for years with the Cincinnati Bengals, helping along the wide receiver duo of Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh. As Browns head coach, the team had a winless season and a .088 winning percentage. Jackson was let go midseason. Things got a little heated when the Bengals brought him on as a special assistant to the head coach.
Greg Williams became infamous for his involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. He even received an indefinite suspension from the league in 2012. He bounced around the NFL, from the Rams to the Titans to the Rams again, then ended up the defensive coordinator for the Browns in 2017. He became interim head coach after the Browns fired Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Williams' 5-3 record doesn't look too bad about now, does it? He's the only one with an average over .500.
It was easy to like Freddie Kitchens at first. Especially with lines like, "If you don't wear brown and orange, you don't matter." He got us and Browns fans love a guy who gets us. But "getting us" only gets you so far. Kitchens worked his way up through the Arizona Cardinals organization before coming to Cleveland as the running backs coach. When the Browns axed Hue Jackson and Todd Haley, Kitchens got a big promotion to offensive coordinator. He also got a lot of credit for helping Baker Mayfield with his rookie season. So much credit that he was named head coach. Between the poor clock management, questionable play design and even worse play callings, it's no surprise Kitchens was fired after one season.