If you don’t remember who Jed Hughes of Korn Ferry is, check out our article on him from January 2016. He is an executive head hunter who helped lead to the hiring of Hue Jackson as the Cleveland Browns’ head coach.
This is a case where I don’t really think we can go back in time and blame Hughes for zeroing in on Jackson for the Browns, because it was seen as a big-time hire by the franchise at the time. Sometimes, things just don’t work out. Team owner Jimmy Haslam has used Korn Ferry for Flying Pilot J searches before too, so he continued using that familiarity when the team conducted its GM search during the 2017 season.
In an article with the Associated Press today, Hughes is profiled a little bit, including a quote about uniting the Browns with John Dorsey. First, much of the article touts the hirings that Hughes helped make for the Jacksonville Jaguars this year to get their franchise clicking. That segues into the Browns’ hiring of Dorsey:
The company puts together alignment sheets and an assortment of questionnaires and specs — some look as lengthy as a game plan — that reference the qualities the team or organization want, and the qualities the candidates bring. It doesn’t hurt, Hughes says, that he has long-standing friendships and bonds with so many people in the sports business.
Cleveland’s recent hiring of John Dorsey as general manager is a case in points, Hughes explains. The Browns began searching for someone much earlier in the season, and Hughes not only had a relationship with Dorsey, but recognized the skills Dorsey showed as GM in Kansas City — solid draft picks, salary cap management — were what Cleveland’s owners sought most. “He could manage a roster and a team’s assets the most effectively,” Hughes says.
In a day and age where it is difficult to keep secrets, Hughes managed to keep the entire process a secret while also fulfilling the league’s minority candidate interview requirements. Hughes also adds that because of the competitiveness of any hiring process, they do not take on more than one client at a time.
One has to wonder if Hughes advised Haslam not to conduct another head coaching search in 2018. If so, that certainly could’ve been a reason why Haslam went out of the way a few weeks ago to express the fact that Jackson would return in 2018, despite the team’s winless record.