Cleveland Browns Pick Bud Carson as Coach Over Rams’ Shurmur
Bud Carson, the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator since 1985 and architect of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Steel Curtain defenses during the 1970s, became the Cleveland Browns’ seventh head coach today.
Browns’ owner Art Modell named Carson, 57, to replace Marty Schottenheimer, who quit Dec. 27 over differences with Modell about how the team should be run.
“This is the greatest thrill of my professional life,” Carson said. “I’ve waited long, but it’s worth the wait. The fact that I’m coming to a team that is playoff caliber makes it that much better.”
Carson beat out Rams’ defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur for the job. Shurmur, 56, was the only other finalist after the San Francisco 49ers elevated defensive coordinator George Seifert to head coach Thursday.
Carson emerged as the front-runner because he has worked in the AFC, giving him more experience in the conference in which the Browns compete.
Schottenheimer resigned three days after the Browns lost 24-23 to Houston in the AFC wild card game. He refused to give in to Modell’s demands that he hire an offensive coordinator and fire some of his assistants.
The Kansas City Chiefs hired Schottenheimer as head coach Tuesday.
Carson takes over one of the most successful AFC teams of the last four years. Schottenheimer, who like Carson was a defensive coordinator previously, guided the Browns to four straight playoff appearances, including AFC Central Division championships in each of his first three full seasons as head coach.
Under Carson, the Jets’ defensive ranking improved from 21st in 1984 to eighth in 1985, his first season in New York.
The rebuilding New York defense stumbled to 23rd this season, however. The Jets allowed 354 points, 10th of the 14 teams in the AFC.
Carson was the Steelers’ defensive coordinator from 1972 through 1977, and Pittsburgh went to the playoffs all six years, winning two Super Bowls. His Rams’ defense went to the Super Bowl in 1979, losing to the Steelers. Carson was the defensive coordinator for Baltimore in 1982 and Kansas City in 1983.
Carson began his coaching career at Scottsdale, Pa., High School (1955-56). He went on to coach at North Carolina (1957-64) and South Carolina (1965) before moving on to Georgia Tech in 1966, serving as as head coach from 1967 to 1971.