Browns hire Pettine, a former coach at North Penn High

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine answers questions during news-conference Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Berea, Ohio. The Browns flew to Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday to interview Pettine for the second time at the Senior Bowl. The four-hour meeting came shortly after Gase, the first candidate the team contacted, called Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and withdrew from consideration. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine answers questions during news-conference Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, in Berea, Ohio. The Browns flew to Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday to interview Pettine for the second time at the Senior Bowl. The four-hour meeting came shortly after Gase, the first candidate the team contacted, called Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and withdrew from consideration. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Posted: January 25, 2014

CLEVELAND - After nearly a month of twists, turns and talk, the Browns found a coach.

Mike Pettine, the son of the legendary Central Bucks West coach, is Cleveland's new head man.

Buffalo's defensive coordinator, who met with team officials for the first time last week, finalized a five-year contract Thursday to become the Browns' seventh full-time coach since 1999. The team fired Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29 after one season and embarked on a winding search that ended with Pettine.

Pettine, 47, played quarterback and defensive back at C.B. West under his father, Mike Pettine Sr., who during his 33-year coaching career at the school won 326 games and four PIAA Class AAAA championships. Once he graduated from the University of Virginia - he was a safety for the Cavaliers - the younger Pettine entered coaching himself.

After two years as the head coach at William Tennent in Warminster, Pettine took over North Penn's program before the 1997 season. He compiled a 45-15 record in five years, then took a substantial pay cut to join the Baltimore Ravens as a video and computer technician in 2002.

Brian Billick, then the Ravens' head coach, made Pettine the team's outside linebackers coach in 2005, and when the New York Jets hired Rex Ryan - Baltimore's defensive coordinator at the time - to be their head coach in 2009, Pettine joined him as the Jets' defensive coordinator.

"You always want your kids to go further and better than you," Pettine Sr. said, "and he certainly has done that. I'm proud of what he's accomplished."

Pettine will inherit a Cleveland team that went 4-12 this season.

"Our players and fans are going to really enjoy Mike Pettine and his leadership style," Browns CEO Joe Banner said.

"To compete in the AFC North, you have to be willing to bloody your nose a little bit," Pettine said. "That's the mentality we're going to take here. This team is going to be built on toughness."

The hiring ends a 25-day odyssey for the Browns. Owner Jimmy Haslam said the team spoke with 10 candidates in person before zeroing in on Pettine.


Columnist Mike Sielski contributed to this article.

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