×

Three NFL Teams Hire Head Coaches

  • FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens walks on the field after an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, in Cleveland. A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Browns are hiring Freddie Kitchens as their coach. Kitchens, who had a dazzling eight-week run as the team’s interim offensive coordinator, is finalizing his contract and will be named Cleveland’s ninth coach since 1999, said the person who spoke Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting on the imminent hire. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 24, 2017, file photo, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio watches before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, in Chicago. A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that Denver Broncos general manager John Elway has decided on Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as his new head coach. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, because the team hadn't announced the hiring. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2018, file photo Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase stand on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Gase has been fired after three seasons as the Miami Dolphins coach, including a 7-9 finish this year. Gase confirmed his dismissal in a text message Monday, Dec. 31 to The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Gary Landers, File)



Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Cleveland — The Browns didn’t have to go far to find their new coach. Freddie Kitchens was already in the building.

The 44-year-old Kitchens, who had a dazzling eight-week run as the team’s interim offensive coordinator, is finalizing a contract to become Cleveland’s ninth coach since the franchise’s 1999 rebirth, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Wednesday.

ESPN was first to announce the decision.

Also, Gregg Williams, who went 5-3 as Cleveland’s interim coach and defensive coordinator this season, is no longer with the team, the person said. Williams was the first candidate to interview for the coaching vacancy.

Kitchens has no previous head coaching experience, but his work with Cleveland’s offense — most notably quarterback Baker Mayfield — in the season’s second half vaulted him ahead of the other six candidates interviewed by the Browns, who were looking for the right coach to lead them following a stunning turnaround season.

Under his leadership, Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, threw 19 of his NFL rookie record 27 touchdown passes while erasing any doubt that he could be the coveted franchise quarterback that has eluded the Browns for decades.

Broncos Hire Bears’ Coordinator

Englewood, Colo. — Denver Broncos general manager John Elway has decided on Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as his new head coach, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Fangio is a first-time head coach at age 60.

He replaces Vance Joseph, who posted the franchise’s first back-to-back losing seasons since 1971-72 and was fired on New Year’s Eve with an 11-21 record.

Fangio has been an NFL assistant for 32 years and for 34 years overall, including two years in the old USFL.

Elway also interviewed former Colts coach Chuck Pagano, Steelers O-line coach Mike Munchak, Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores and Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor while searching for his fourth head coach in six seasons.

Elway said he also plans to take a self-assessment this month to review the moves he’s made that have led to Denver’s three-year playoff drought since Peyton Manning retired a month after the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 title.

The Broncos have had four starting quarterbacks over that span, including free agent Case Keenum, who was underwhelming in his first year in Denver in 2018.

Elway, who turns 59 this summer, and Fangio, who turns 61 in August, will make up one of the oldest coach-GM duos in the NFL in 2019.

Fangio has 19 years of coordinating experience for the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers and Bears.

Jets Turn to Ex-Dolphins coach

New York — The New York Jets hired former Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase as their head coach, a person familiar with the decision said.

Gase was 23-26 in three seasons with Miami, including a playoff game in 2016, before being fired after this season. The 40-year-old coach worked as an assistant with Detroit, San Francisco and Denver before being promoted to offensive coordinator by the Broncos in 2013 and drawing rave reviews from Peyton Manning.

Gase followed coach John Fox to Chicago in 2015 to be the Bears’ offensive coordinator. He was hired by the Dolphins as their head coach the following season.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday night because the team had not yet announced the hiring.

Gase replaces Todd Bowles, who was fired after he went 24-40 in four seasons.