My ESPN Scorecenter App just reported that the Cleveland Browns have hired Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski as their next head coach. According to this writeup from yesterday, Chudzinski visted the team's facility in Berea on Wednesday. He had two previous stints as an assistant with Cleveland, serving as tight ends coach in 2004 (he was fired along with the rest of Butch Davis' staff) and working the 2007 season as the offensive coordinator for Romeo Crennel.
Last year, Chudzinski interviewed for head-coaching jobs with St. Louis, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.
Chudzinski's connections with the Browns run deep.
He grew up in Toledo, Ohio, pulling for the Browns, and he was thrilled to be part of Davis' staff. After he left Cleveland the first time, he spent two seasons as San Diego's tight ends coach, working with perennial Pro Bowl standout Antonio Gates, before he was hired by Crennel in 2007.
That year, the Browns won 10 games -- their most wins since 1999 -- and had four players make the Pro Bowl. However, 2008 didn't go nearly as well, as injuries and a six-game losing streak to close the season resulted in a 4-12 record and the firing of Crennel.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that the team will formally introduce Chudzinski at a news conference on Friday, ending an up-and-down two-week coaching search after the Browns fired Pat Shurmur after going 5-11 this season.
You can read more about "Chud" via this brief from the Plain Dealer.