CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns have officially named Freddie Kitchens their coach after his strong, eight-game stint as offensive coordinator.
Kitchens started the season coaching Cleveland’s running backs. He agreed to a contract on Wednesday and signed it Saturday to become the team’s 17th full-time coach.
The affable 44-year-old became interim coordinator on Oct. 29 after coach Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were fired. Kitchens transformed Cleveland’s offense while developing quarterback Baker Mayfield, who threw 19 of his NFL rookie record 27 touchdown passes in the season’s second half.
Kitchens rose from nearly unknown to fan favorite after helping the Browns win five of their last eight games and finish 7-8-1 following a 0-16 season. He’s Cleveland’s ninth coach since 1999 and fourth hired since 2012 by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.
Kitchens was picked over six other candidates, including interim coach Gregg Williams, who is not returning as defensive coordinator.