Cleveland Browns hiring season: List of candidates competing for the toughest job in football

The Browns are searching for its 12th head coach since returning to the NFL in 1999.

Cleveland Browns hiring season: List of candidates competing for the toughest job in football
Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam walks on the field before an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Cleveland. The Rams won 20-13. (AP Photo/David Richard) (Source: David Richard)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In the words of Jimmy Haslam, the Cleveland Browns are more determined than ever to get the head coaching position filled right.

Since firing first-year coach Freddie Kitchens on Dec. 29 and losing to the team with the worst record in the NFL, the Browns have been thoroughly interviewing candidates to fill the position.

To keep you up to date on who the team has been reportedly interviewing and who they are, here’s a list of the candidates and what they’ve done to get them to this point.

WHO IS STILL IN THE RUNNING

Eric Bieniemy

Where he is now: Eric Bieniemy just completed his second season as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. However, he was with the club since 2013 as the running backs coach.

How he got there: Coaching isn’t the only experience Bieniemy has in the NFL. He was a running back for nine seasons after getting selected by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He went on to play with the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles until he hung up his helmet after 1999.

Bieniemy got his first coaching gig in 2001 at his alma mater, the University of Colorado, where he earned All-America honors in 1990 and finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

For two years, he served as the Buffaloes running backs coach before serving that position at UCLA from 2003-2005. He was also UCLA’s recruiting coordinator in his last season there.

After UCLA won the 2005 Sun Bowl, Bieniemy was back in the NFL. This time, as the running back coach for the Minnesota Vikings.

He served that role from 2006-2010, and was also named the Vikings’ assistant head coach for offense in 2010.

Bieniemy returned to the University of Colorado Boulder as the offensive coordinator from 2011-2012 before joining the Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy talks to the media before team workouts Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs host the New England Patriots in the NFL 's AFC football championship game Sunday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy talks to the media before team workouts Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs host the New England Patriots in the NFL 's AFC football championship game Sunday. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) (Source: Charlie Riedel)

Brian Daboll

Brian Daboll’s schedule cleared up after Buffalo’s 22-19 loss in Houston on Saturday night. He came to Cleveland on Monday to meet with Browns officials.

Familiar face: If Brian Daboll looks and sounds familiar to you Cleveland fans, that’s because he is. Daboll served as the Browns’ offensive coordinator from 2009-2010. But let’s backtrack...

Where he is now: Daboll has served as the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator since 2018.

How he got there: Before becoming a coach, Daboll played football for the University of Rochester.

He was first hired as a restricted earnings coach by The College of William & Mary in 1997 before becoming a graduate assistant at Michigan State University from 1998-1999.

Daboll’s NFL coaching career as the defensive coaching assistant for the New England Patriots in 2000 before being promoted to the club’s wide receivers coach in 2002.

He left the Pats to join the New York Jets as their quarterbacks coach from 2007-2008.

Then he joined the Browns under Eric Mangini. While he was in Cleveland, the Browns’s offense was ranked 32nd in the NFL in 2009 and 29th in the NFL in 2010.

Daboll then traveled down south to be the Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator in 2011, went west as the Kansas City Chief’s offensive coordinator for 2012, and then to New England to be the Patriots’ offensive assistant in 2013.

He stayed with the Pats as their tight ends coach from 2014-2016, helping them win Super Bowl LI.

Daboll then returned to coach college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2017.

During his time as the offensive coordinator for Nick Saban, the Tide went on to win the 2018 National Championship Game.

Daboll returned to the NFL in 2018 when he was named as the offensive coordinator for the Bills.

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll watches the team warm up before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll watches the team warm up before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) (Source: Ron Schwane)

Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels is not used to being free this early in the playoff process, but he is. After Tennessee upset New England on Saturday night, McDaniels was clear to come to Cleveland to meet with Browns officials.

The club announced McDaniels was being interviewed on Friday.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that McDaniel’s wife, Laura, accompanied him on the trip.

Familiar face: Josh McDaniels could be considered a born and raised Clevelander (even though his address wasn’t exactly within the city’s limits). He was born in Barberton, went to McKinley Senior High School, and continued his education at John Carroll University in University Heights.

Where he is now: McDaniels has been with the New England Patriots since 2011. The Pats hired him to act as an offensive assistant coach during their 2011 playoff run. He then went on to become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012. He has maintained that role since then, and even withdrew from the position as the Indianapolis Colts head coach after he was announced.

McDaniels has been on the Pats coaching staff for all six of their Super Bowl championships, including Super Bowl XXXVI, Super Bowl XXXVIII, Super Bowl XXXIX, Super Bowl XLIX, Super Bowl LI, and Super Bowl LIII.

How he got there: McDaniels was a quarterback at in high school, but primarily played as a wide receiver for the Blue Streaks from 1995-1998.

He began his coaching career as a senior graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State University in 1999.

Two years later, McDaniels first joined the Pats in 2001 as a personal assistant. He then served the team as a defensive coaching assistant from 2002-2003 before becoming the quarterbacks coach in 2004.

McDaniels was officially promoted to offensive coordinator when the 2005 season ended in addition to his role as the quarterbacks coach. He manned the two positions through 2008.

The Denver Broncos named McDaniels their head coach in 2009. He was fired from the position in 2010.

He went on to become the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2011 before returning to the Pats the following year.

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels before an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini) (Source: Winslow Townson)

Greg Roman

Familiar face: Greg Roman is no stranger to the Cleveland area. He, like fellow Browns head coach candidate Josh McDaniels, is also a John Carroll University alum. As a Blue Streak, Roman starred on the defensive line and helped the team win the Ohio Athletic Conference championship, which wouldn’t be earned again until 2016.

Where he is now: Roman served as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2019, but he has been with the team for several years prior.

How he got there: His first coaching job was as the offensive line assistant for the Carolina Panthers from 1995-2001.

He moved on to be the tight ends coach and quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans from 2002-2005 before first joining the Baltimore Ravens as an offensive line assistant from 2006-2007.

Roman then left the NFL to be the offensive coordinator for Holy Spirit High School in 2008 and the tight ends coach and offensive tackles coach for Stanford from 2009-2010.

He returned to the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014.

The Buffalo Bills hired him to be the offensive coordinator in 2015, but was relieved in 2016 during the season.

Roman went back to the Baltimore Ravens when he was hired as the senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach in 2017. He was then named the assistant head coach in addition to maintaining his role as the tight ends coach in 2018, and became the offensive coordinator in 2019.

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted out that he thinks Baker Mayfield would approve if Roman was selected.

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman speaks to reporters after workouts at the team's NFL football training facility in Owings Mills, Md., Wednesday, June 12, 2019 (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman speaks to reporters after workouts at the team's NFL football training facility in Owings Mills, Md., Wednesday, June 12, 2019 (AP Photo/Gail Burton) (Source: Gail Burton)

Robert Saleh

The Cleveland Browns confirmed on Saturday morning that the club was set to interview San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh for the head coach opening.

Where he is now: Robert Saleh has been the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers since 2017.

How he got there: Saleh played as a tight end for Northern Michigan University from 1998-2002.

He began his coaching career as a defensive assistant for Michigan State University from 2002-2003. He also held that same role at Central Michigan in 2004 and the University of Georgia in 2005.

Saleh broke into the NFL in 2005 when he was hired as an intern with the Houston Texans where he worked with the defensive unit. He worked his way up to be a defensive quality control coach for the club in from 2006-2008 before being promoted to assistant linebackers coach from 2009-2010.

The Seattle Seahawks hired Saleh in 2011 as their defensive quality control coach. He served that role through 2013 when they won Super Bowl XLVIII.

After the championship win, Salah was hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars linebackers coach from 2014-2016.

Saleh’s next move was to the 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) (Source: Tony Avelar)

Jim Schwartz

NFL expert Ian Rapoport reported that Schwartz is a “top candidate” for the coaching position.

Familiar Face: Jim Schwartz kicked off his NFL coaching career as a personnel assistant for the Browns under then-head coach Bill Belichick from 1993-1995.

Where he is now: Schwartz has been the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator since 2016.

How he got there: Schwartz was a four-year letterman linebacker at Georgetown University, earning Division III All-America honors.

His coaching history began as a graduate assistant at the University of Maryland in 1989, a graduate assistant at the University of Minnesota in 1990, a secondary coach at North Carolina Central in 1991, and a linebackers coach at Colgate in 1992.

After his last college coaching gig, he moved onto the Cleveland Browns for two years.

When the Browns went to Baltimore in 1996, Schwartz followed to become the Ravens’ outside linebackers coach form 1998-1998.

Schwartz then spent nearly a decade with the Tennessee Titans as their defensive assistant in 1999, linebackers coach in 2000, and defensive coordinator from 2001-2008.

He went on to become the Detroit Lions head coach from 2009-2013, going 29-52 with one playoff appearance.

After getting fired from the position when the Lions ended the year at 7-9, the Buffalo Bills hired Schwartz as their defensive coordinator in 2014.

Schwartz took a step back from coaching in 2015 to become a consultant that gives a coach’s perspective within the NFL’s officiating department.

He jumped back into the coaching world with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he helped lead the defense to his and the Eagles’ first Super Bowl championship in Super Bowl LII.

FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2019, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville, Fla. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who had a five-season run as Detroit's coach, is interviewing Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, with the Cleveland Browns. Schwartz is the sixth candidate to meet with the Browns, who are once again looking for a coach after another disappointing, losing season.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2019, file photo, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville, Fla. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who had a five-season run as Detroit's coach, is interviewing Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, with the Cleveland Browns. Schwartz is the sixth candidate to meet with the Browns, who are once again looking for a coach after another disappointing, losing season.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File) (Source: Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Kevin Stefanski

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Friday that Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski may also be in the interviewed for the Browns head coach position this week, pending the result of their game versus the Saints on Sunday.

Where he is now: Kevin Stefanski was named the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for the 2019 season, but he has been with the club since 2006.

How he got there: Stefanski played football at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a part of the only undefeated Penn team of the decade.

His coaching career kicked off with an operations internship with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005.

He went back to Penn that year as the assistant director of football operations.

Stefanski then joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 as an assistant to former head coach Brad Childress.

He served that role through 2008 before being promoted to be the assistant quarterbacks coach from 2009-2013.

Stefanski then served as the tight ends coach from 2014-2015, the running backs coach in 2016, the quarterbacks coach in 2017-2018, additionally serving as the interim offensive coordinator in 2018 before being named as the offensive coordinator for 2019.

Minnesota Vikings interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn) (Source: Bruce Kluckhohn)

WHO IS OUT OF THE RUNNING

Mike McCarthy

The Browns confirmed the first candidate they interviewed for the head coach opening was former longtime Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

However, NFL Insiders reported on Jan. 6 that McCarthy had agreed on terms with the Dallas Cowboys to be their head coach.

Where he left off: In his 13 seasons as the Packers’ head coach from 2006-2018, McCarthy lead the team to 135 wins, nine postseason trips, six divisional wins, and the Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Browns press release regarding their head coach interviewee said, “His 125 regular season victories rank 30th in league history and his .618 win percentage is 29th among coaches who have won at least 30 games. If McCarthy becomes a head coach in 2020, he’ll be, at worst, fifth among active coaches for most career wins.”

How he got there: McCarthy was a tight end at Scottsdale Community College before transferring to NAIA’s Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.

He broke into his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Fort Hays State from 1987-1988 before serving the same role for three seasons at the University of Pittsburgh form 1989-1991.

McCarthy stayed at the University of Pittsburgh to become the wide receivers coach in 1992.

His first NFL gig was for the Kansas City Chiefs as their offensive quality control coordinator from 1993-1994. He then went on to be the club’s quarterbacks coach form 1995-1998.

McCarthy left the Packers to become the quarterbacks coach in 1999.

After the Packers released the entire coaching staff when the season ended, McCarthy went on to become the New Orleans Saints’ offensive coordinator from 2000-2004.

McCarthy then served as the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers in 2005 before coming into his role as the Green Bay Packers head coach.

Ironic personal note: McCarthy is a native from Pittsburgh and grew up as a Steelers fan. He probably wasn’t expecting to possibly be on the Browns’ side of the rivalry while growing up!

FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy watches the team's NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The Cleveland Browns didn't even talk to Mike McCarthy on their last coaching search. He was at the top of their list this time around. The former Green Bay coach is meeting Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, with Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam as Cleveland begins its latest quest to find the right coach after so many failed attempts. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy watches the team's NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit. The Cleveland Browns didn't even talk to Mike McCarthy on their last coaching search. He was at the top of their list this time around. The former Green Bay coach is meeting Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, with Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam as Cleveland begins its latest quest to find the right coach after so many failed attempts. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Source: Paul Sancya)

Copyright 2020 WOIO. All rights reserved.