Kitchens hired by Browns

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer

Fred­die Kitchens had some­thing on his coach­ing re­sume no other can­di­date could match. He made for­mer Ok­la­homa star Baker May­field a bet­ter quar­ter­back.

Kitchens, who helped May­field turn his rookie sea­son into a record­break­ing one dur­ing an im­pres­sive eight-game stint as the Browns of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, was named Cleve­land's 17th full-time coach on Satur­day, cap­ping a re­mark­able per­sonal rise up the coach­ing ranks.

His next goal: Take the Browns where they've never been — the Su­per Bowl.

"It's an honor to be named the head coach of the Cleve­land Browns," Kitchens said in a re­lease. "As I've said be­fore, I think Cleve­land and I get along pretty well. My fam­ily and I have re­ally en­joyed our time with this or­ga­ni­za­tion and in this com­mu­nity over the last year.

"There are a lot of great peo­ple in this front of­fice that I'm ex­cited to con­tinue to work along­side with a sin­gu­lar fo­cus on win­ning. I've been to one Su­per Bowl that didn't end the way I wanted it to and that dis­ap­point­ing mem­ory is what re­ally drives me."

The af­fa­ble 44-yearold Kitchens is the ninth coach since the Browns' 1999 ex­pan­sion re­birth and fourth hired since 2012 by own­ers. As it turns out, gen­eral man­ager John Dorsey didn't have to search far or wide for "a man of char­ac­ter, a guy who can in­still lead­er­ship into these young men."

Kitchens was there the whole time.

"We had a de­lib­er­ate and thor­ough process and one thing be­came ev­i­dent — that Fred­die is the best per­son to lead the Cleve­land Browns," said Dorsey, who has lifted the Browns from laugh­able to le­git­i­mate in just one year. "We saw first­hand what Fred­die is able to do."

Kitchens will be for­mally in­tro­duced Mon­day at a news con­fer­ence in FirstEn­ergy Sta­dium.

It's hard to imag­ine Kitchens was part of Dorsey's long-term vi­sion when he was hired to coach run­ning backs on Hue Jack­son's staff after 11 sea­sons as an Ari­zona Car­di­nals as­sis­tant. But when Jack­son and co­or­di­na­tor Todd Ha­ley were fired on Oct. 29, Kitchens took the of­fen­sive reins and May­field and his team­mates took off.

Un­der Kitchens' lead­er­ship, the No. 1 over­all pick in last year's draft threw 19 of his NFL rookie record 27 touch­down passes. May­field erased any doubts he's the cov­eted fran­chise quar­ter­back that has eluded the Browns for decades.

Kitchens and May­field con­nected on a per­sonal level, two for­mer col­lege quar­ter­backs who bonded over a shared pas­sion and senses of hu­mor.

"It was great work­ing with and learn­ing from Fred­die last year," May­field said after Kitchens' hir­ing was an­nounced. "He has such a cre­ative mind. He cre­ates mis­matches and just put guys in po­si­tion to take ad­van­tage of their op­por­tu­ni­ties. He puts trusts in us as play­ers. He's the same guy ev­ery day."

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