Kitchens Fills Out Browns Staff
Since being named Browns head coach, Freddie Kitchens has been hard at work finding his offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators as well as other coaches. Today Kitchens and the Browns made it official as to who will be joining him on his staff. He’s added Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator, Todd Monken as offensive coordinator, Mike Priefer as special teams coordinator and other assistants.
You can read more about the newest members of the Browns coaching staff below in the Browns official press release and you’ll be able to hear from head coach Freddie Kitchens today live at 12PM on News-Talk 1480 WHBC and on WHBC.com.
(official Browns press release)
Browns add to coaching staff
BEREA, Ohio – Cleveland Browns Head Coach Freddie Kitchens announced today that the team has named Steve Wilks as defensive coordinator, Todd Monken as offensive coordinator, Mike Priefer as special teams coordinator, Stump Mitchell as running backs/run game coordinator, James Campen as offensive line/associate head coach, Ryan Lindley as quarterback coach, Jody Wright as special assistant to the head coach, Jim Dray as offensive quality control coach and Tyler Tettleton as offensive quality control coach.
Wilks enters his 25th year as a coach and his 14th season in the NFL. He has helped his teams advance to two Super Bowls.
In 2018, Wilks served as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals after spending six seasons (2012-17) with the Carolina Panthers. He served as the defensive backs coach his first five seasons and was defensive coordinator in 2017. The Panthers finished in the top-10 in total defense in five of Wilks’ six seasons with the team. With Wilks as defensive coordinator the club went from 21st in 2016 to seventh in 2017. Carolina also finished among the league leaders in sacks (third with 50) and run defense (third at 88.1) and were the only NFL team to not allow a 100-yard rusher in a game. LBs Luke Kuechly and Thomas Jones were selected to the Pro Bowl, while Kuechly added first team All-Pro honors. In 2016 as secondary coach, the Panthers tied for the NFC lead with 17 interceptions. In 2015, Carolina led the NFL in interceptions (24), takeaways (39), and opponent passer rating (73.5) and advanced to Super Bowl 50.
Prior to Carolina, Wilks spent three seasons (2009-11) coaching the Chargers defensive backs. In 2010, San Diego led the league in total defense and pass defense. Wilks helped S Eric Weddle to two All-Pro selections (2010-11) and one Pro Bowl selection (2010).
Wilks joined the NFL ranks as Chicago’s defensive backs coach from 2006-08. In 2006, the Bears led the NFL in takeaways and advanced to Super Bowl XLI.
Prior to Chicago, Wilks spent 11 seasons coaching on the college level. He began his coaching career as the defensive coordinator at Johnson C. Smith (1995-96). He spent two seasons (1997-98) as defensive coordinator at Savannah State, where he was named Division II Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 1998. He was elevated to head coach in 1999 and guided the Tigers to a 5-6 record.
Wilks had one-year stints as the defensive backs coach at Illinois State (2000) and his alma mater,
Appalachian State (2001), before working as the co-defensive coordinator at East Tennessee State in 2002. Wilks spent time at Bowling Green as defensive backs coach in 2003 before working at Notre Dame
(2004) and the University of Washington (2005) in the same capacity.
Wilks attended West Charlotte High School and went on to play defensive back at Appalachian State (1987-91), finishing his career with 103 tackles, four interceptions and four blocked kicks.
He attended training camp with the Seattle Seahawks in 1992 and played defensive back and wide receiver for the Charlotte Rage of the Arena Football League in 1993. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Appalachian State.
Wilks and his wife, Marcia, have two daughters, Marissa and Melanni, and a son, Steven James.
Monken spent the past three seasons (2016-18) as offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also coached the wide receivers his first two seasons.
In 2018, he helped Tampa Bay led the NFL in passing offense and finish third in the league in total offense. The Buccaneers set numerous club records including total yards, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Wide receiver Mike Evans thrived under Monken’s offense as he earned his first two Pro Bowl selections and topped 1,000 receiving yards in all three seasons.
Monken came to Tampa Bay from Southern Mississippi, where he spent three seasons (2013-15) as head coach. After taking over a program that had finished 0-12 the previous season, Monken oversaw a turnaround that had the Golden Eagles as postseason bowl participants by the end of his third campaign. Under Monken’s guidance, Southern Miss posted a 9-5 record in 2015, winning the Conference USA West division and earning an appearance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Before joining Southern Miss, Monken spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Oklahoma State (2011-12), his second stint with the Cowboys, after having worked as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach from 2002-04. During his time as offensive coordinator, the team set school season records for total offensive yards, passing yards, completion percentage, points scored and passing touchdowns. He worked with QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon who both went on to be first round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Prior to his second stint at Oklahoma State, Monken spent four seasons (2007-10) working as the wide receivers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his time with Jacksonville, Monken coached Reggie Williams, who set a club record with 10 touchdown receptions in 2007.
Before entering the NFL, Monken served as the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach at LSU from
2005-06, where he helped develop future first-round selections WR Dwayne Bowe and WR Buster Davis.
Monken began his coaching career at Grand Valley State, spending two seasons as a graduate assistant
(1989-90), before holding the same title at Notre Dame (1991-92). He also coached at Eastern Michigan, where he worked as the defensive backs/wide receivers coach (1993-97), before being elevated to the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (1998-99). Monken also served as the running backs coach (2000) and the wide receivers coach (2001) at Louisiana Tech.
A native of Wheaton, Ill., Monken was a three-year letterwinner at quarterback for Knox College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in education leadership from Grand Valley State. He is a member of the Knox College Athletic Hall of Fame.
He and his wife, Terri, have one son, Travis.
Priefer enters his 13th season as an NFL special teams coordinator. He has held the same role with the Chiefs (2006-08), Broncos (2009-10) and Vikings (2011-18). In 2012, Priefer was named Special Teams Coach of the Year as voted on by his NFL counterparts.
Since joining the NFL in 2002, Priefer has helped David Tyree (ST), Chris Hanson (P), Blair Walsh (K) and Cordarrelle Patterson (RS) earn Pro Bowl nods. Both Walsh and Patterson were named first team All-Pro multiple times. Priefer has seen his units account for 26 scores (12 kickoff return, nine punt return, three blocked punts, one botched fake field goal and one safety). He has also helped his squads block 23 kicks (nine punts, nine field goals and five PATs).
During his tenure with the Vikings, Priefer’s unit led the NFL with 14 special teams touchdowns. The team scored on seven kickoff returns, five punt returns and two touchdowns off blocked punts. Minnesota led the NFL in kickoff return average in 2015 (28.3) and 2016 (27.3) and finished second in 2011 (27.2). His units also
led the league in punt return average in 2013 (15.2) and finished second in the league in total kick return yards in 2014 (1,981) and 2015 (1,540). In 2014, the Vikings became the fifth team in NFL history to block two punts and return both for touchdowns in the same game.
Cordarrelle Patterson led the league in 2013 kickoff return average (32.4) and kickoff return touchdowns (two). In 2015, he led the NFL in kickoff return average (31.8) and kickoff return touchdowns (two). In 2016, Patterson was first in kickoff return average (31.7). Marcus Sherels also routinely ranked among the league leaders and tied for the NFL lead in punt return touchdowns (two) in 2016. Kicker Blair Walsh set numerous team and NFL records, including connecting on 12 consecutive field goals of 50-plus yards.
During his time with the Broncos, Eddie Royal became the 11th player in NFL history to have both a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown in the same game (at San Diego, 10/19/09).
Before joining the Broncos, Priefer coordinated Kansas City’s special teams from 2006-08 following stints as an assistant special teams coach with the New York Giants (2003-05) and Jacksonville (2002).
From 1994-2001, Priefer coached special teams at the collegiate level, working for Navy (1994-96), Youngstown State (1997-98), VMI (1999) and Northern Illinois (2000-01).
At Northern Illinois, Priefer helped Justin McCareins earn MAC Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2000.
At Youngstown State, Priefer spent two years under head coach Jim Tressel and helped the team capture the Division I-AA National Championship in 1997.
Priefer began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Navy in 1994, instructing special teams that season before coaching linebackers and defensive line from 1995-96. He also coached special teams and served as defensive coordinator for Navy’s junior varsity team from 1995-96.
A QB and WR on Navy’s junior varsity and lightweight teams from 1985-88, Priefer flew helicopters as a Naval officer for five years (1989-94) after his graduation. His work included tours of duty on USS America in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.
Priefer earned a bachelor’s degree from the US Naval Academy from 1989 and received a master’s degree from Maryland in 1997.
Priefer was born in Cleveland and graduated from high school in Green Bay, Wis.
His father, Chuck, was a longtime college and NFL coach, including a special teams coach with the Chargers and Lions.
He is married, Debbie, and has four children, Samantha, Michael Jr., Wilson and Katie.
Mitchell joins the Browns after spending the past two seasons as the Jets running backs coach. He played running back in the NFL for nine seasons and has coached in the NFL for 16 seasons.
Mitchell has served as running backs coach in New York, Arizona (2013-16), Washington (2008-09) and Seattle (1999-07). Under Mitchell, four different backs – Ricky Watters (1999-00), Shaun Alexander (2001-05), Clinton Portis (2008) and David Johnson (2016) gained 1,000 rushing yards in a season, while Andre Ellington produced 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first two NFL seasons (2013-14).
He has helped his backs find the end zone as Alexander (five times) and Johnson (twice) produced 10 or more scrimmage touchdowns in a season multiple times. Alexander set an NFL record with 28 scores in 2005 and Johnson led the league with 20 in 2016. In addition to numerous running backs, Mitchell has also helped two fullbacks earn Pro Bowl selections in Mack Strong and Mike Sellers.
On the college level, Mitchell has served as head coach at Southern (2010-12) and Morgan State (1996-98). He was also the offensive coordinator at Morgan State in 1995.
Mitchell began his coaching career as the running backs for the San Antonio Rough Riders of the World League of American Football in 1991. He spent two seasons (1993-94) as the head coach at Casa Grande (Ari.) High School and led the team to the state playoffs in his second year.
A ninth-round selection in the 1981 NFL Draft, Mitchell played nine years with the Cardinals (1981-89) and one season with the Chiefs (1990). He still ranks in the top three in Cardinals history in rushing yards (second), rushing average (second), kickoff return yards (second) and punt return yards (third). Off the field, Mitchell earned recognition as the Chuck Drulis Award winner for community service in 1982 and as the team’s Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award finalist in 1984 for his work in the community.
A four-year player and three-year starter at running back for The Citadel, Mitchell set school records for rushing yards in a season and for a career. As a senior in 1980, he finished with the second-most rushing yards in the country and was named an All-American, Southern Conference Player of the Year and South Carolina Amateur Athlete of the Year.
Campen joins the Browns after 20 years with the Green Bay Packers, 15 of which as a coach.
Campen was promoted to run game coordinator/offensive line coach in 2018 and oversaw the offensive line since 2007. Prior to that, Campen filled the role of assistant offensive line/quality control coach for two seasons (2004-05). In nine of Campen’s 11 seasons as offensive line coach, the Packers ranked top 10 in the league in scoring and finished in the top 10 in total offense in eight of those 11 seasons. Campen helped six Packers offensive linemen earn Pro Bowl recognition since 2010, the only team in the league to have six different members of the offensive line selected over that span.
A former Packer himself from 1989-93, Campen broke into the league as an undrafted center signed by the New Orleans Saints out of Tulane. He’s a native of Sacramento, Calif.
Lindley initially joined the Browns coaching staff as running backs coach on Oct. 31, 2018.
He helped RB Nick Chubb set a Browns rookie record with 996 rushing yards. He recorded the second-most scrimmage yards (1,145) and tied for the second-most total touchdowns (10) by a Browns rookie in a season. Chubb recorded 92-yard touchdown run in Week 10, the longest run in Browns history and the second-longest by a rookie in NFL history.
As a player, Lindley was a sixth-round pick by Arizona in 2012. He appeared in 10 regular season games with six starts in addition to starting a playoff game for the Cardinals in 2014. He spent two seasons playing under current Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, who served as Arizona’s quarterbacks coach from 2013-16. Lindley also spent time with the Chargers, Patriots and Colts. He was a four-year starter at San Diego State, where he set numerous school records, including career passing yards (12,690) and touchdowns (90).
Following his playing career, he helped numerous prospects leading up to the NFL draft, including quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Mitchell Trubisky.
Lindley joined San Diego State’s coaching staff in 2017 as a graduate assistant, where he remained until joining the Browns staff.
Wright was the offensive line and assistant head coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2018. He was also the running backs coach at UAB in 2014.
Separate from his time as a Blazer, Wight was the director of player personnel at Alabama from 2015-17 and was the graduate assistant/offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide from 2010-12. He also acted as the passing game coordinator/tight ends coach at Jacksonville State in 2013 and the graduate assistant/coordinator of football operations at Mississippi State from 2005-09.
Wright graduated from Jacksonville State in 2004 and earned his master’s degree from Mississippi State in 2009. He hails from Alabama and was a two-time all-state running back at Pickens Academy in high school (Carrollton, Ala.).
Dray, a former Browns tight end from 2014-15, was an offensive assistant at Stanford last season.
A former Cardinal himself, Dray played at Stanford from 2005-09 and finished his collegiate career with 41 receptions for 455 yards and seven touchdowns. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In addition to his two years in Cleveland and four in Arizona, Dray also spent time with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers.
He’s a native of New Milford, N.J.
Tettleton spent 2018 as a player personnel intern last year with the Jets. Tettleton was also a graduate assistant for two years (2016-17) at the University of Oklahoma prior to his time in the NFL.
As a player, Tettleton was a quarterback at Ohio University. He finished his career 732 of 1,174 passes for 9,129 yards, 67 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also had 347 carries for 910 yards and 16 scores. He set OU records for highest passer rating (148.9), completions (256), touchdown passes (28), passing yards (3,606) and total yards (3,960).