Wearing his ring from winning Super Bowl XXXI as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren talks to the media hours after the team fired head coach Eric Mangini, at the Browns' training facility in Cleveland on Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Updated: January 3, 2011 2:20PM
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns president Mike Holmgren began looking for Cleveland’s next coach just hours after firing Eric Mangini.
Holmgren, who won a Super Bowl title with Green Bay and guided Seattle to its only appearance in one, would not rule out coaching again. However, he said Monday that he is not part of the initial search to find a replacement for Mangini, who was dismissed after going 10-22 in two seasons.
“My goal is to find exactly the right person to eventually lead us to the championship,” Holmgren said. “I was hired to be the president of the Cleveland Browns. I think this year I’ve grown into the job. Having said that, I am also a coach and will always be a coach. To tell you right now that I would never coach again — here or any place — wouldn’t be honest.
“But as of right now, my job is to find the best coach available for this job. That’s what I’m trying to do. And that does not include me right now.”
Holmgren, 62, sent out applications Monday for permission to speak with potential NFL candidates, including those on playoff teams. He said his search will not be limited to only those with pro experience. He has no timetable to find Mangini’s replacement but said it’s vital to get it right.
“I don’t want to do this again,” he said, “so I really think I have to get this one right — for organization continuity, for the ability to keep people in place for a long period of time to develop the organization.”
Cleveland’s next coach will be the franchise’s fifth since 1999.
Holmgren said no decisions have been made on any of Mangini’s assistants. He gave them the rest of this week off and will meet with them next Monday. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is reportedly expected to interview for Carolina’s vacancy.
Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert will lead Cleveland’s coaching search, which got underway before Mangini had left the building. Holmgren did not reveal names of any candidates and said he has not yet talked to former head coaches Jon Gruden and John Fox, two close friends.
Holmgren said owner Randy Lerner has not given him any budget restrictions on finding a successor for Mangini, who still has two years left on a contract worth a reported $8 million.
Although the Browns have been mired in losing and almost constant change, he believes coaching in Cleveland is attractive to anyone in the profession.
“This is one of the great jobs in the country,” he said. “If you’re a football coach, that’s what you want to be. There is a challenge there that I think appeals to men in this business.”