Former Bucks High School Coach Takes Helm for Cleveland Browns

Pettine led the Panthers to a school-record nine wins in 1996. He takes over a Cleveland Browns team that has not won more than five games in one season in the past six years.

Mike Pettine. (Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Browns)
Mike Pettine. (Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Browns)
By James Boyle

Former William Tennent football coach and Bucks County native Mike Pettine has agreed to become the next head coach for the Cleveland Browns, according to a statement from the NFL team.

Pettine joins the Browns after spending 2013 as the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and the 2009-12 seasons as the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. Pettine has helped his units to a top 10 finish in total defense in all five of his seasons as a defensive coordinator.

“We are thrilled to announce Mike Pettine as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns,” said Owner Jimmy Haslam. “Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be -- tough, aggressive and innovative -- with a blue-collar, team-first mentality. He knows what's necessary to beat teams in the AFC North. Most importantly, Mike has repeatedly shown the ability to lead his players to consistent improvement and success, clearly what we are striving for as he leads the Cleveland Browns moving forward.”

The beleaguered Browns finished the 2013-2014 season with a 4-12 record and fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after one year on the job. Pettine will be the third head coach in as many years for a team that has not finished a season with more than five wins in the past six years.

Prior to joining the NFL ranks, Pettine was the head coach at North Penn High School in Towamencin, Pa., from 1997-2001. He led the school to 45 wins in five seasons, including an 11-2 record in 1999. He also served as the head coach for two years at William Tennent High School in Warminster, Pa., where he led the team to a school-record nine wins in 1996.

His father, Mike, Sr., was the head coach for 33 years at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pa., where Pettine played under his father and earned all-state honors as a quarterback and defensive back. He later served as an assistant coach on his father’s staff for five seasons (1988-92). Mike Sr., retired as a head coach after the 1999 campaign as the winningest coach in the history of Pennsylvania high school football with a career record of 326-32-4.

Pettine is the second local-grown football coach to make recent headlines. On Jan. 11, Neshaminy grad James Franklin officially signed on as Penn State's new football coach.


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