Freddie Kitchens reportedly will be the next head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Kitchens will be the 17th full-time head coach in the history of the Browns organization and the ninth since the team returned to the National Football League ahead of the 1999 season.
Kitchens was interviewed for the head-coaching vacancy on Monday, and made quite the impression, so much so that the search committee chose him from a list of candidates that included six others with various coaching experiences in the NFL.
Kitchens’ elevation to head coach caps an unusual 12 months for the well-traveled assistant coach.
Hired on January 24, 2018, Kitchens was initially the running backs coach and associate head coach. During an unprecedented staff upheaval at the midway point of the 2018 season, Kitchens took over the play-calling duties when coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were dismissed.
In his end-of-the-year press conference on December 31, 2018, Browns general manager John Dorsey said that interim coach/defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was not the only in-house candidate to earn an interview for the full-time head-coaching vacancy over the final eight weeks of the 2018 regular season.
Kitchens, whom has been a popular interview request from other NFL teams, helped the Browns increase their points per game and got solid play out of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Prior to the dismissals of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the Browns averaged 21.125 points per game on offense, but were outscored by more than five points in every outing.
Once Kitchens took over the play-calling duties, the Browns showed improvement in points per game scored. The Browns averaged 23.75 points per game, up by more than 2.5 points per outing.
Kitchens has 20 years of coaching experience, including 13 at the NFL level.
Before joining the Browns, Kitchens was a tight ends (2007-2012), quarterbacks (2013-2016) and running backs coach (2017) for the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, Kitchens was the Dallas Cowboys’ tight ends coach during the 2006 season.
Prior to his NFL coaching career, Kitchens worked at Mississippi State, North Texas, LSU and Glenville State.
The 44-year old Kitchens is a native of Gadsden, Alabama, and was a three-year starting quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He was a high school All-American and earned the Mr. Football Award in Alabama as a prep standout.
Kitchens was seventh interview candidate confirmed by the Browns since starting their search last Tuesday. Last week, the Browns brought in Williams, Jim Caldwell, the former coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions, current Minnesota Vikings interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski and New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell for interviews.
Also, last weekend, the Browns brought in New England Patriots defensive assistant Brian Flores (Saturday) and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus (Sunday) for interviews.