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Catch up with Browns Fan of the Year Kathy Laurich-Hryb's experience at Super Bowl LVIII

Laurich-Hryb and family share their experiences of attending Super Bowl LVIII and as the Browns Fan of the Year

Fan of the Year Q&A

In early November, the Browns officially named Kathy Laurich-Hryb as the Cleveland Browns Fan of the Year, making her the Browns nominee for the NFL's 2023 Fan of the Year.

As a life-long Browns fan, she's attended games throughout her childhood and into her adult life. She is a dedicated season ticket member, as she took over her father's ticket account after he passed away in 1991 that has been in her family for over 75 years – dating back when her father had tickets when the team was the Cleveland Rams as part of the American Football League.

As part of the nomination for Fan of the Year, Laurich-Hyrb was invited out to participate in a number of events leading up to Super Bowl LVIII, as well as attend the game in Las Vegas. She attended with her son, Shawn Hryb, and her daughter Kolleen DeGrazia joined for a portion of their trip. So, we caught up with them to discuss their time at the Super Bowl and her experience as the Browns Fan of the Year.

What was the overall experience like at the Super Bowl LVIII?

Kathy Laurich-Hryb: The overall experience was amazing. Connecting with the other fans of the year was enjoyable. Sitting together at the game was fun — it felt surreal. From Reba singing the National Anthem to Usher and Alicia Keys to the tie game and the grand celebration, it was such a once in a lifetime experience.

Shawn Hryb: The overall experience was amazing. Being around fans from every team, which are on the same unbelievable ride as you, is unmatched. We all congregated in the lobby of the hotel three times on this trip. Each encounter was more humbling than the previous. The spectacle was noticed by football and non-football fans alike. Pictures were taken and stories were shared, just an outrageous experience.

What was your favorite event from the trip and why?

Laurich-Hryb: The NFL Honors was my favorite event. The red carpet was fun, I felt like a princess going to a ball. I felt special. When numerous people asked for pictures with me and made precious comments on my skirt with the Cleveland Browns players names on it and my football purse, shoes and jewelry, it was heartwarming. My daughter and her amazing support in creating my skirt as well as her shawl monogramed "My mom is the Cleveland Browns Fan of the Year" made the event even more special. It was memorable to be able to share this event with her.  [We also took] pictures with Myles Garrett and JOK!

Hryb: For me, my favorite event was the Super Bowl. I had the privilege of sitting next to my mom and Wesley (the Broncos FOTY). We shared stories and talked football — it was the most memorable moment of the entire weekend. Oh, and the game went into overtime!

Kolleen DeGrazia: I loved attending the NFL Honors with my mom. It was amazing to see everyone's response to my mom and her amazing outfit. She received compliments all night. She was elated all evening getting to meet individuals from Captain Morgan, Cleveland Browns players and other amazing Cleveland Browns fans. Watching the pure joy on my mom's face the entire evening made me very happy for her. I received a compliment on my outfit, "You are one sweet daughter to wear that." I responded with "I have an amazing mom and I am proud to show my support for her." And it was exciting that the Cleveland Browns won four awards!


What was your favorite moment during the Super Bowl?

Laurich-Hryb:My favorite moment during the Super Bowl was stepping out onto the field. Such an emotional, breathtaking moment for me representing my Cleveland Browns and their huge fan base. Me, one of 32 in the entire NFL. Me, standing so proud. Such an honor. An extremely special lifetime memory. My dad and my husband would be so proud.

Hryb: My favorite moment during the Super Bowl was seeing my mom on the field with all of the other Fans of the Year. Usher was great too!

What does it mean to you that you represented the Browns while at the Super Bowl?

Laurich-Hryb: It was an honor to represent the Browns at the Super Bowl. I felt that I represented them well. My dress, my actions, my positivity and my love for the Browns shined through. I have sincere gratitude to the Cleveland Browns for this opportunity. It was truly a life-changing honor. After being on the field, Browns fans approached me for pictures — such an honor. Strangers spoke of reading my story and felt I was so deserving.

Hryb: It means the world to us. Our story is unique. I urge you to find another fan that has had season tickets in their family for over 70 years and are not a doctor, lawyer or own their own business. My dad worked construction and my mom was an elementary school teacher. They saved money by not having a cable bill, not having air conditioning and by working extra jobs. They are Cleveland — they are the average Browns fan. I am so lucky to have had an amazing grandpa and dad. My mom is the best mom ever.

What was it like to share this experience at the Super Bowl with each other, knowing how important the Browns are to you all as a family?

Laurich-Hryb: I was moved by Shawn being present with me. So happy I could share this unbelievable event with him and a memory we will both treasure for a lifetime. He has been my support since losing my husband. It was evident how proud he was of me. 

Hryb: Sharing this experience with my mom was unbelievable. Fans from all different teams would stop and ask how she got to be Fan of the Year, and at this point, she has answered that question so many times it comes out naturally. Even though she is retired, she gives this lesson about how she became Fan of the Year and how to nominate people. She has not been in a classroom for over 10 years, and she still has lessons to give.


Looking back at the entire experience as the Browns Fan of the Year and culminating with the trip to the Super Bowl, what has this experience been like and meant to you?

Laurich-Hryb:This experience has been life-changing. It honestly has given me something to look forward to and a reason to move forward. I have made friends from total strangers. I've been asked for photos with people, and I have heard numerous stories regarding other connections with the Cleveland Browns. I feel I have helped to educate our youth on the history of the Browns. I had opportunities such as a podcast with "Here We Go Brownies" and an interview with Kenston High School students. I was mentioned on the Mark Nolan show and (did) an interview with 92.3 The Fan. Such wonderful experiences have come from this honor.

Our FOTY jersey and the jacket from Captain Morgan with FOTY on it as well were great conversation starters wherever I went. I have met numerous people from various areas and from a variety of walks of life. I was fortunate to have my path crossed with them. This opportunity is priceless, and I don't believe it will stop here. In traveling to away games, I made acquaintances with Houston, Cincinnati and Seattle fans. 

I enjoyed meeting all the other Fans of The Year. I presented the other Fans of the Year and their plus one with a Cleveland Browns pin, sharing my love of the Browns with each of them. I hope to stay in touch with when traveling to their stadiums and them traveling to ours. I feel all my years of supporting our Cleveland Browns were validated by my receiving this honor. I will continue to show pride and honor with this team. I will continue to support them in any way possible. As my children have attested, the Cleveland Browns are a huge part of our family. Our season tickets will continue for years to come.

The joint effort by my children and dear friends to pull together stunning outfits for the various occasions relating to the Fan of the Year events warmed my heart. This honor has reunited many old friends and has brought many new ones to my life. I could never thank you enough for this life-changing opportunity. I will be forever grateful.

Hryb: This entire experience has been a godsend. My dad passed away three years ago. Her sister passed away at the end of last year. Her good friend and neighbor passed around the same time. She needed this distraction. She needed a reason to get up and go to the games. She needed a reason to go out to a bar and make new friends. Without this experience I feel she would have sold tickets, and just stayed in the house. I feel that this experience has shown here that there is so much more life to live. Thank you for giving my mom a reason.

DeGrazia: From the time I found out that my mom was selected as the Cleveland Browns Fan of the Year, I have been on top of the world. Seeing the excitement that this honor has brought to my mom is nothing like I have seen before. Attending Browns games with her this season has been amazing. Individuals stopped her to ask for pictures and congratulate her. So many people she ran into at the grocery store and different restaurants were genuinely excited to talk to her and hear her story.  Even though the 2023 Cleveland Browns season is officially over, she will always have this honor and amazing new friendships. This is the start of a new chapter in her life, and I am excited to see what it has to bring.

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