The Cleveland Browns made it official on Monday - Kevin Stefanski is the team’s new head coach.
Stefanski becomes the 18th full-time head coach in franchise history and the fifth full-time head coach since Jimmy and Dee Haslam bought the team in 2012.
The 37-year-old Stefanski spent the past season as the offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings, where he helped quarterback Kirk Cousins post a career-high passer rating of 107.4, a team record for completions with 425, and the second-most passing yards in franchise history with 4,298. Overall, the Vikings offense finished the season at No. 8 in scoring offense at 25.4 points per game and sixth in rushing yards at 133.3 per game.
The Haslams praised Stefanski’s football IQ in a statement issued on clevelandbrowns.com:
“We were looking for a strong leader of this football team, a very bright coach with a high football IQ, who could establish a strong understanding of what he expected of his players, hold them accountable and confidently navigate the challenges and opportunities that present themselves throughout a season. Kevin exemplifies these qualities and more. He has a tremendous ability to relate well and communicate well with his players, has experienced many coaching facets of a team, and understands how to put them in the best position to succeed while also establishing a winning culture.”
Stefanski spent 14 seasons with the Vikings, beginning as an assistant to head coach Brad Childress in 2006 and working his way up through the ranks to offensive coordinator, a role he took over with three games remaining in the 2018 season.
Stefanski is eager to get to work, according to the team’s website:
“It’s very exciting obviously for me and my family,” Stefanski said. “We’re really looking forward to moving out here and getting situated in Cleveland and the adventure of it all. From my professional level, I just could not be more eager to get to work with this group. I think we have some really good players here. I think we have some outstanding people in this building. I know we have to add a GM and add some more pieces to this puzzle. I think the eager part for me is to get to work, buckle down and start to put together a program. Before you know it, the players are back in the building and we’re going to be putting a system together offensively, defensively, etc. I think that’s the fun part, when these guys get back in this building.”
Stefanski joins Rob Chudzinski, Mike Pettine and Freddie Kitchens as a first-time head coach hired by the Haslams. Of that group, Pettine lasted two seasons, while Chudzinski and Kitchens were both one-and-dones. Whether or not the Haslams have finally learned patience remains to be seen.
The team will formally introduce Stefanksi during a press conference on Tuesday.