A look back: Browns coaches

1:43 AM, Jan 11, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- As the revolving door of head coaches continues to spin at the Browns front office in Berea, here is a look at all those who have tried to lead the team since it returned to the NFL in 1999 and where they are now.

First to take the head coaching helm was Chris Palmer. Palmer first broke into the NFL with the Houston Oilers in 1990 as the wide receivers coach for the famed Run 'N Shoot Oilers offense. Palmer would go on to join Bill Parcells in New England in 1993 and became the quarterbacks coach in 1996 where with Drew Bledsoe the team advanced to Super Bowl XXXI.

In 1997 Palmer joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as offensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin. In 1999 Palmer was named head coach of the new Cleveland Browns franchise. He had a combined record of 5-27 in his two year stint with the club. Palmer was most recently with the Tennessee Titans as offensive coordinator. But a loss to the Jaguars in which the Titans only managed five field goal attempts on offense sealed his fate. The Titans fired Palmer on November 26, 2012.

Palmer was replaced in Cleveland in 2001 by Butch Davis from the University of Miami. Davis tried to regain what he had accomplished as defensive coordinator for the Cowboys in 1993-1994 but only managed a record of 24-35 during in his three-and-a-half seasons with the Browns.

Davis resigned during the 2004 season after a five game losing streak that culminated in a 58-48 loss to the Bengals on November 28, 2004. The game was the second highest scoring game in NFL history. After leaving the Browns, Davis served as the head coach of the University of North Carolina football team from 2007 to the summer of 2011 when an NCAA investigation resulted in his dismissal from the team. He was hired by Tampa Bay in February 2012 as an adviser and was rumored to be interested in the University of Southern Florida head coaching position until Willie Taggart took the job.

What was left of that 2004 season belonged to Interim head coach Terry Robiskie. Robiskie was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 8th round of the 1977 NFL draft. Robiskie had coaching stints in the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders (1985 -1993) and with the Washington Redskins (1994-2000). Robiskie concluded the 2000 season as the Redskins interim Head Coach after Norv Turner left the team. Robiskie went 1-2 to end the Redskins season.

He joined the Cleveland Browns in 2001 as a wide receivers coach and was named the offensive coordinator in 2004. He was the interim head coach for the final 5 games of the 2004 season after Butch Davis left. The team went 1-4 over those last games. Brian Robiskie, Terry's son, was a ball boy with the team before attending Ohio State. The Browns drafted Brian Robiskie in 2009 with the 36th overall pick by the Cleveland Browns. Terry Robiskie is currently in the playoff hunt with the Atlanta Falcons as their wide receivers coach.

The house clearing of 2004 ushered in a new regime and head coach Romeo Crennel. Crennel found his path in 1975 at Texas Tech under Bill Parcells. In 1983 Crennel was reunited with Parcells at the New York Giants where he spent 7 years as a special teams coach and 3 years as a Defensive line coach. Crennel followed Parcells to New England (93-96) and to the Jets (97-99). Crennel first came to Cleveland as Defensive Coordinator under Chris Palmer in 2000. But left for the same job in New England where he helped the Patriots to win 3 Super Bowl championships in (2001, 2003 and 2004).

Crennel was coming off a Super Bowl when he took the head coaching job at the Browns. Romeo went 24-40 in his stint with the club. He was released after the 2008 season. In 2011, Crennel was named interim head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs after Todd Haley was terminated following the 13th game of the 2011 season. Romeo won his first game as interim head coach for the Chiefs against an undefeated Green Bay Packers team that had won 19 straight games. On January 9, 2012 Crennel was named head coach. The Chiefs released him on December 31, 2012 after going 2-14 and giving the Chiefs the #1 overall draft pick in the 2013 draft.

Crennel's successor, Eric Mangini, also came from the Patriots coaching tree. Mangini was a former public relations intern for the Cleveland Browns and a nine season understudy of former Cleveland Browns head coach Bill Belichick. Mangini was named head coach of the club on January 7, 2009.

Mangini was only the second of 12 Browns head coaches to have prior NFL head coaching experience (Nick Skorich 1971-1974). Prior to the Browns, Mangini was with the New York Jets (2006-2008) where he went 23-25 and was responsible for the so-called "Spygate" scandal where he told league officials that Belichick's Patriots illegally filmed his Jets' defensive signals. Mangini went 10-22 at the helm of the Cleveland Browns before being released on January 3, 2011 by team president Mike Holmgren. Mangini is currently an analyst for ESPN.

In 2011, Mike Holmgren hired Pat Shurmur, an understudy of his West Coast offensive system. Shurmur began working in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999 and worked as quarterbacks coach from 2002 to 2008. Shurmur helped Donovan McNabb to three Pro Bowl selections during his tenure. In 2009, Shurmur was named offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams and helped mold the Rams 2010 1st overall pick Sam Bradford's rookie season.

Bradford set NFL rookie records for completions (354) and attempts (590). Shurmur was hired on January 13, 2011 as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Shurmur went 9-23 during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert Jr. were fired Dec. 31, 2012 by new owner Jimmy Haslam.


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