Source: Browns to name Kevin Stefanski head coach

Vikings OC was finalist for the job a year ago

Daryl Ruiter
January 12, 2020 - 12:16 pm
Nov 17, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski looks on before the start of a game against the Denver Broncos at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Paul DePodesta didn’t get his guy in 2016 or 2019 but he wasn’t denied in 2020.

Kevin Stefanski, the finalist who lost out to Freddie Kitchens a year ago, has been chosen to be the Browns next head coach a league source confirmed to 92.3 The Fan. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has yet to announce the decision.

DePodesta recommended the Browns hire the 37-year old Stefanski instead of Kitchens a year ago. The Browns’ chief strategy officer also favored Bills head coach Sean McDermott over Hue Jackson in 2016.

Stefanski becomes the fifth head coach owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have hired since 2013, the 10th full-time head coach hired since 1999 and the 18th in franchise history.

Stefanski, who was promoted to offensive coordinator in Week 15 of the 2018 season, was the longest tenured coach in Minnesota having worked under three different head coaches over 14 years with the club.

The Vikings were eliminated Saturday by San Francisco, 27-10, making Stefanski immediately available to hire.

Minnesota ranked eighth in scoring averaging 25.4 points per game during the regular season under Stefanski and they finished sixth in rushing with a 133.3 yards per game average while quarterback Kirk Cousins finished in the top five in passer rating while throwing 26 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Stefanski started off his NFL career as an operations intern with the Eagles before joining the Vikings as an assistant to head coach Brad Childress from 2006-2008 before being promoted to assistant quarterbacks coach. From 2014-15 Stefanski worked with the tight ends, running backs in 2016 and was the quarterbacks coach in 2017 for Minnesota.

Stefanski’s father, Ed, is a longtime NBA executive who currently works as an adviser for the Detroit Pistons.

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Jan. 2 the team would hire the head coach before the general manager, but they would be a package deal as the franchise sought organizational alignment.

It is expected that Stefanski will be paired with Andrew Berry, Eagles vice president of football operations. Berry worked under Sashi Brown, architect of the worst stretch of football in NFL history that saw the team go 1-31 in 2016-17, as one of the team’s vice presidents of player personnel from 2016-19 before he left for Philadelphia.

The Browns interviewed seven other candidates for the job – Mike McCarthy, who was hired by the Cowboys, Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.