Forrest Gregg became just the fourth head coach for the Browns in their 30 seasons of existence when he was hired on Jan. 22, 1975.
And, like his two immediate predecessors, he was promoted from within.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle from the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys had been hired as offensive line coach on Nick Skorich’s staff in 1974.
Skorich was promoted from offensive coordinator when Blanton Collier retired after the 1970 season.
When Paul Brown, the team’s first head coach, was dismissed after the 1962 season, Collier was bumped up from offensive assistant.
Gregg, 41, was inheriting a team that had fallen on hard times after many of its top players had gotten old at the same time and were retiring. After Skorich’s first two clubs made the playoffs, the Browns finished 7-5-3 in 1973 and 4-10, then a franchise-worst, in ’74, causing him to be let go.
The Browns continued to struggle through most of Gregg’s first season in 1975, starting 0-9, then won three of their last five games to finish 3-11. That momentum continued into 1976 when they went 9-5 and just missed qualifying for the playoffs, earning him the AFC Coach of the Year Award.
The Browns also were rolling along through the first half of 1977 with a 5-2 record before going into a nosedive and posting a 6-8 mark.
Gregg was removed with one game left in that season and replaced by defensive coordinator Dick Modzelewski for the season finale.
Gregg’s record in his nearly three full seasons in Cleveland was 18-23 (.439).
This same day in Browns history is brought to you today by Cleveland Clinic. With 27 locations, world class care is always near you. Call 855-411-DAWG for a same-day appointment.