By Nate Ulrich
Beacon Journal sports writer
Megan Pettine became a household name in Northeast Ohio last week. Then on Thursday, she went national.
The 19-year-old daughter of new Browns coach Mike Pettine, Megan inadvertently broke what turned out to be the most important news of the team’s head-coaching search. On Jan. 16, she posted a message on Twitter that revealed her father’s first interview with the Browns went well and he would have a second meeting with the team’s brass. That second interview Tuesday led to another meeting Thursday, when the Browns officially hired Mike Pettine.
The tweet was featured on SportsCenter and Keith Olbermann’s show on ESPN2 Thursday because it also contained a playful jab at the Browns.
“It’s the Browns,” Megan wrote in the same tweet, which has since been deleted. “But hey, still pretty cool!”
Mike Pettine’s introductory news conference ended with a question about the tweet, and he was ready for it.
“I’ve been waiting for this question,” Pettine said. “We had a very long father-daughter chat after that one. She learned a very valuable lesson in the power of social media.
“She was mortified. [She] called me hysterically crying one day after it happened.”
Pettine got his first NFL job with the Baltimore Ravens in 2002 and worked with the team through the 2008 season. Consequently, he and his ex-wife raised their children, Megan, Katie and son Ryan, in Ravens territory.
“Let’s not forget where she came from,” Pettine said of Megan, who’s now a lacrosse player and student at Stony Brook University. “Her formative years were spent in Baltimore, where she was trained to not be a Browns fan, so I hope that we can give her a little leniency that way.”
Megan and her younger sister Katie will undoubtedly be decked out in Browns gear now, even if they’re not sold on the color scheme fitting into their wardrobes.
“The thing that I think that she’s more upset about is that the team colors don’t really match what a 19-year-old wants to wear,” Pettine said. “My 12-year-old daughter has already expressed that as well. Brown and orange — they weren’t really happy about that.”
Still, Megan was thrilled about her dad achieving a lifelong goal by getting his first NFL head-coaching gig.
“We have a very special relationship,” Pettine said. “She sent me a text this morning that I think would have made most fathers cry.”
As for her allegiance, it definitely lies with the Browns.
“She has no choice,” Pettine said. “She’s a fan now.”
Search for coordinator
The Browns are interested in former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak as an offensive coordinator, but it is considered unlikely that he’ll join the team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday.
The Texans entered the 2013 season with Super Bowl aspirations but fired Kubiak on Dec. 6 after absorbing 11 consecutive losses and stumbling to a record of 2-11. Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke during Week 9 and missed two games before returning.
Kubiak, 52, went 61-63 in his eight seasons with the Texans, who made the playoffs twice during his tenure. He was the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator from 1995-2005. As the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterbacks coach in 1994, he directed Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young to an MVP season.
Pettine is a defensive-minded coach, and he said he plans to call the defense’s plays during the 2014 season. He has ideas about the way he wants the Browns to play on offense, but there’s no doubt the hiring of his offensive coordinator will be crucial. Whoever receives the job should be vital to the process of evaluating and targeting a quarterback this offseason, almost certainly via May’s draft.
Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh, Louisiana State offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan were mentioned as potential candidates by various media outlets. The Dallas Cowboys, though, are discussing hiring Linehan, ESPN’s Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen reported.
So far, so good
Fox Sports analyst and former Browns linebacker Scott Fujita wrote on Twitter on Friday that he has been asking around about Pettine.
“Haven’t heard one negative thing yet,” Fujita wrote. “In fact, it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”
Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was named the professional athlete of the year at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards on Thursday night. He beat out Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and the PGA Tour’s Jason Dufner.
Gordon made his first Pro Bowl and was named first-team All Pro after leading the NFL in receiving yards (1,646) during the 2013 regular season.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.