CLEVELAND - Rob Chudzinski's first head coaching job will be with the team he loved as a kid.
Chudzinski, who spent the past two seasons as Carolina's offensive coordinator, has been hired by the Browns as their sixth full-time coach since 1999. It's the third stint in Cleveland for Chudzinski, who worked with the Browns previously as an assistant.
The Browns hope the first-time head coach can end years of despair and constant losing, and maybe resurrect a franchise that has made just one trip to the playoffs in the past 14 years.
The team confirmed Chudzinski's hiring with a release Thursday night and said he will be introduced at an 11 a.m. news conference at the team's facility in Berea today.
Chudzinski will be the Browns' 14th coach in team history. He replaces Pat Shurmur, another first-time coach when he was hired, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 5-11 season. For the past two years, the 44-year-old Chudzinski has worked with talented Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
When owner Jimmy Haslam embarked on his coaching search last week, he pledged to bring back the "best person for Cleveland."
After meeting with at least seven other candidates, Haslam, who bought the Browns this summer, decided along with CEO Joe Banner that Chudzinski, was ready.
Known simply as "Chud," Chudzinski coached tight ends in Cleveland for Butch Davis in 2004, and then came back to the Browns in 2007 and was offensive coordinator for two seasons under Romeo Crennel.
Chudzinski, who was never embarrassed to acknowledge he rooted for the Browns while growing up in Toledo, Ohio, interviewed with the team on Wednesday. He was viewed by many as a longshot for the job, not because he wasn't qualified, but Haslam figured to make a big splash with his first coaching hire.
However, Chudzinski wowed Haslam and Banner during his meeting and the team decided it was time to end their search after nearly 10 days.
It's not yet known whom Chudzinski will bring in as his coordinators. There are reports he may hire former San Diego coach Norv Turner to run his offense.
Taking over the Browns offense in 2007, Chudzinski helped the Browns win 10 games - the most since their expansion rebirth in 1999 - and had four players make the Pro Bowl.
In the end, the Browns decided to go with Chudzinski, who has no head coaching experience but is regarded as one of the league's brightest up-and-coming coaches.