Cleveland Sports Insiders

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500 words or less…on hiring the right football coach

1The Cleveland Browns can learn a lot from their AFC North adversaries when it comes to hiring a football coach. There are clearly differences in organizations, but both the Steelers and Ravens made dark-horse hires that ultimately won their teams Super Bowls.

In 2007, Bill Cowher resigned as Steelers coach after fifteen seasons. The Steelers interviewed five candidates for the job; Steelers OC Ken Whisenhunt; Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm; Bears DC Ron Rivera; Georgia Tech head football coach Chan Gailey; and Vikings DC Mike Tomlin.

Whisenhunt, Grimm, Rivera and Tomlin had never been a head coach, and Gailey had been the head coach in Dallas for two years, and was the current Georgia Tech head coach. The Steelers’ job was coveted, but the front office focused on names that were High-IQ “fits” for what a Steelers coach should be. The Steelers hired Tomlin, who had overwhelmed the front office in his two interviews as being an intense leader, with a clear picture of what it would take to win football games in the Steelers organization. Continue reading