Nobody wants to coach the Cleveland Browns. (Insert Internet sad face.) Candidate after candidate has turned down the overtures of owner Jimmy Haslam and General Manager/”Friend” of Bill Simmons, Mike Lombardi. Don’t worry, the Cleveland braintrust is waiting to hire a coach still active in the playoffs, so it’s all working according to their plan.
Fear not Browns fans, I’ve spent some time thinking outside the
bun box, compiling a list of six candidates who would be ideal candidates for the job. Pretty soon, the Browns won’t have many other viable options, but of course this is the sort of mess you make when you’ve fired four coaches since 2008.
Candidate No. 1: Hayden Fox
Fox has a lot going for him. He’s coached in college with Minnesota State (where he won a national title) and in pros with the Orlando Breakers (with decidedly less success despite exactly the same support staff). Most impressively, Fox did both jobs with only two assistant coaches, so the Browns would save some money on staffing, which is nice since Cleveland is paying out about $50 million dollars for six guys not to coach. After spending years in frosty Minnesota, a winter in Cleveland probably doesn’t sound too bad to Fox. Problems could arise due to defensive coordinator Luther van Dam’s insistence on running a base 4-3 defense.
Candidate No. 2: Ed Gennero
Coach Gennero rebuilt Texas State after the NCAA levied the death penalty on the program in the early 90s. Building the Browns into Super Bowl contenders might be an even tougher task. Gennero also found success with an older quarterback at TSU, so he might be able to squeeze some magic from Brandon Weeden. Sadly, Gennero’s longtime No. 2 Wally Riggendorf passed away in 2001 from a rage-induced heart attack after yelling at a McDonald’s worker for giving him an Egg McMuffin instead of a Sausage Biscuit.
Candidate No. 3: Bud Kilmer
If the Browns want a winner, why not look to the controversial Kilmer, who took West Canaan High to two Texas state championships and 22 district titles. Kilmer’s been off the grid for over a decade, but a football mind like that remains fertile. This would be a bold hire by the Browns signaling that they putting winning above everything else, even player safety … which could cost Kilmer his shot at redemption. Odds are Kilmer, however, and Josh Gordon — the team’s best talent — would probably butt heads from Day 1.
Candidate No. 4: Tony D’Amato
Do Haslem and Lombardi want their players FIGHTING FOR THAT EXTRA INCH? Then they better hire D’Amato. Motivational locker room speeches might not be enough to get the Browns past the Steelers, Bengals and Ravens in the AFC Central, but rest assured the players would be fighting their collective asses off for that inch. D’Amato’s passion is commendable, but his game management leaves a lot to be desired. For all his bravado, he still opts to kick short field goals rather than go on fourth-and-short from the goal line.
Candidate No. 5: Eric Taylor
Although a tactical mastermind — his read option system produced a 2,000 yard quarterback and fullback — Coach Taylor is probably too pure and innocent to have what it takes to coach in the NFL. Even with his success turning doormat East Dillon into champions, Taylor’s approach is better suited to an FCS level program, although he’d certainly appreciate the offer from the Browns. He would, however, look pretty good with a Browns cap permanently affixed to his head.
Candidate No. 6: “Coach” Harris
If the Browns want to develop into a tough-tackling, defensive-first team coach Harris is the man. Call him a motivator of young men. That said, he never won a big game at Adams College despite strong-armed quarterback Stan Gable behind center. Harris could be the guy to ensure Barkevious Mingo doesn’t end up a bust. Something to consider.
Candidate No. 7: Lou Brown
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I hear what you’re saying. He’s a baseball guy. He’s never coached football. But Brown is a winner and he’s won in Cleveland. That’s what counts. That said, Haslam & Co. probably need to make a sweetheart offer to get Brown away from making bank selling whitewalls.
Or the Browns can just go out and hire Chan Gailey or Marty Schottenheimer.