The Cleveland Browns today named Chris Tabor as special teams coordinator, the team announced. Tabor brings 18 years of coaching experience between the high school, college and professional levels, including the last three as the Chicago Bears’ assistant special teams coach.
“I believe that Chris is one of the up and coming special teams coaches in this league,” said Browns head coach Pat Shurmur. “He is smart, enthusiastic and has a true passion for this area of the game. In Chris’ three years with the Bears, they consistently boasted one of the best special teams groups in the league, in just about every facet. Having faced them in 2008 and 2009, I know what a challenge it was to go up against their unit. He will be a valuable addition to our coaching staff.”
During Tabor’s three years working with the Bears’ special teams units, Chicago consistently ranked among the league leaders in numerous departments. The Bears ranked in the top-five in no less than nine different special teams categories combined over that three-year period. Chicago led the NFL in total return yards (6,570) and kickoff return yards (5,415) and posted the second-best kickoff return average (25.1), ranked third in punt return defense (7.1) and produced the fifth-best punt return average (10.4). The Bears registered six total kick returns for touchdowns in that time, tied for the second-most in the league.
“I’m very happy for Chris. We all are in the Bears organization," Bears Special Teams coordinator Dave Toub said. "I’m very proud of him. He’s a great coach. We’re all going to miss him. The coaches, players and staff loved him here. Cleveland’s players are going to really like him and respond well to him. He brings a lot to the Browns organization.”
Also during Tabor’s tenure, the Bears tied for fifth in the league in punts inside the 20-yard line (90) and tied for seventh in field goal percentage (86.2). Since 2008, Chicago is one of only six teams in the NFL to allow one or fewer kick return touchdowns as that total is tied for second in the league over this span.
Tabor also has helped shape some of the NFL’s top return specialists. In 2008, Danieal Manning led the NFL in kickoff return average (29.7). In 2009, Johnny Knox finished second in the league in kickoff return average (29.0) and earned a Pro Bowl selection as a kick returner. In 2010, Devin Hester led the NFL in punt return average (17.1) and punt return touchdowns (3) en route to earning a Pro Bowl nod as a kick returner.
In 2010, the Bears ranked first in the league in punt return average (17.1), second in kickoff return average (25.4), second in average drive start after kickoffs (31.5) and ninth in punt return defense (7.8).
Prior to Chicago, Tabor spent two seasons at Western Michigan University (2006-07) as the running backs and special teams coach. He spent four seasons at Utah State University, where he was the running backs and special teams coach in 2005 after being the Aggies’ assistant head coach in charge of wide receivers from 2002-04.
Tabor spent four seasons at the University of Missouri, first as an offensive graduate assistant (1997-99) before moving into the role of running backs and special teams coach in 2000. Tabor was also the head coach at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo. in 2001.
From 1993-1996, Tabor built experience at the community college and high school levels, coaching at Central Methodist College (1995-96) in Fayette, Mo., Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College (1994) and Benton High School (1993) in St. Joseph, Mo.
Tabor graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where he played four seasons as quarterback. He earned a master’s degree in education from Columbia (Mo.) College.
Chris and wife, Nikki, have two daughters, Paityn and Lainey.
Chris Tabor’s Coaching Background:
1997-99 University of Missouri, offensive graduate assistant coach
2000 University of Missouri, running backs and special teams coach
2001 Culver-Stockton College, head coach
2002-04 Utah State University, assistant head coach in charge of wide receivers
2005 Utah State University, running backs and special teams coach
2006-07 Western Michigan University, running backs and special teams coach
2008-2010 Chicago Bears, assistant special teams coach
2011 Cleveland Browns, special teams coordinator