The Browns' search for their new head coach started and ended with the same man -- former St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
On Thursday, Shurmur was hired as the Browns' head coach, the team announced. Last Friday, Shurmur became the first of three candidates known to interview with the Browns for their head coaching vacancy.
Shurmur replaces coach Eric Mangini, who was fired Jan. 3 after guiding the team to records of 5-11 in consecutive seasons. The Browns are scheduled to formally introduce Shurmur as the 13th full-time head coach in franchise history at a news conference at 11 a.m. Friday.
Shurmur, 45, has never been a head coach before, and he has been an offensive coordinator for just the past two seasons. But Shurmur's ties to the Browns' front office and roots in the West Coast offense helped his cause.
Shurmur, President Mike Holmgren and General Manager Tom Heckert have the same agent, Bob LaMonte. As an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999-2008, Shurmur learned the West Coast system from coach Andy Reid, one of Holmgren's proteges. He also got to know Heckert, who worked in the Eagles' front office for nine years. He is the nephew of the late Fritz Shurmur, who was a defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers while Holmgren was the coach.
"It’s an honor and a privilege to join an organization with such a rich history and tradition as the Cleveland Browns," Shurmur said in a statement. “I have the utmost respect for coach Holmgren and Tom Heckert, and I am impressed with the direction in which they have this franchise going. I have known Tom for most of my pro coaching career, and while we were in Philadelphia, he and I developed an outstanding relationship. I want to thank Mike and Tom, as well as (Browns owner) Randy Lerner, for this tremendous opportunity. I also want to thank the St. Louis Rams and (coach) Steve Spagnuolo for two terrific seasons and for giving me a chance to be a coordinator at this level. I am looking forward to this challenge and can’t wait to get started in helping to build the Browns back to one of the elite teams in the NFL."
The Browns also interviewed Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, 49, last Saturday and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, 48, on Tuesday. Shurmur, though, had the first interview, and he never lost the lead.
Shurmur is an offensive-minded coach who has experience developing young quarterbacks. He helped Donovan McNabb earn three Pro Bowl selections, and his most recent work was with Rams quarterback Sam Bradford. Shurmur's attributes appeal to Holmgren, who said he wanted a coach who had ''a little bit more pizzazz'' and the ability to help shape Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
"I am extremely excited about having Pat Shurmur as the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns," Holmgren said in a statement. "Pat is a bright, young man who grew up in football and around the coaching profession. I came away from our interview very impressed with him as a person, his extensive knowledge of the game and his track record of success as an assistant coach in this league. Most importantly, I feel as though he possesses the necessary qualities which make him the right man to lead our football team."
Shurmur's coaching resume