Hardesty: Browns coaching search introduces new levels of embarrassment

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This Browns coach-search thing doesn't seem to be really going all that well.

In fact, not well at all.

You would think that when a coach gets fired after just one season -- a season that saw his running back traded at the outset of the year and his quarterback situation turn into a nightmare due to injuries and incompetence -- that the Browns' brain trust did so with a specific candidate in mind to replace the ousted Rob Chudzinski.

And that's what frightens me -- and all of Browns Nation.

That Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, Chief Executive Officer Joe Banner and General Manager Mike Lombardi did have someone in mind, which made firing Chudzinski after going 4-12 in his only season coaching the Browns a plausible move.

The frightening part? Considering that the Browns are the only NFL team still looking for a head coach following the plethora of firings around the league at season's end, that particular someone has either said no thanks to the Browns' job or been snapped up by another franchise.

The fact that the Browns have conducted interviews with some head-coach candidates, and yet there is still no head coach, you can't help but draw the conclusion that Haslam, Banner and company whiffed badly on this one.

They are spinning the situation to appear like they are doing their due diligence in bringing in the right coach -- as evidenced by Haslam's recent bizarre public letter to fans saying as much. But it actually looks for all the world like the Browns' management miscalculated badly on the availability or interest of Prime Candidate No. 1 -- and Nos. 2, 3, 4 and beyond for that matter.

So now we keep hearing that the Browns wanted Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase all along. Reports on Saturday, though, indicate that Gase is not interested. And that the 35-year-old would decline the Browns' job if offered to him.

If I didn't know better, I would think that this has become an unmitigated disaster for the franchise.

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller made the right call in deciding to pass up the NFL Draft and instead return to the Buckeyes for his senior season.

Miller's passing is not yet up to NFL standards, as evidenced by his mediocre aerial showings in Ohio State's loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and the Buckeyes' loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

However, Miller is a tremendous competitor, tough as nails and a phenomenal athlete, and when you combine those facets of his game with his rapid rate of improvement as a quarterback each of his first three seasons in Columbus, Ohio State fans could be in for a special treat in 2014.

Speaking of special treats, the OHSAA's rules that prohibit transfer students from participating in a sport until the midway point of that sport's season looks like it could be a game-changer in the Portage Trail Conference County Division boys basketball race -- mainly at Mogadore.

Juniors Eddie Pearce and Dominic Pizzino took the floor for the Wildcats on Friday night against Springfield, and Pearce finished with 18 points and Pizzino 17 in Mogadore's 70-53 PTC cross-division win over the Spartans.

Considering that the Spartans had gotten their own key player back on the floor Friday night in talented 6-foot-8 senior Victor Dorsey, who responded with 27 points against Mogadore, the Wildcats' impressive win serves notice that an already good team has just gotten markedly better.

And the best news for Mogadore coach Russ Swartz?

The Wildcats are a young team that figures to hit its stride come tournament time.

Email: thardesty@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9446

Twitter: @TomHardestyRC

Facebook: Tom Hardesty, Record-Courier

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