Cleveland Browns Head Coach Freddie Kitchens announced today that the team has named Joe Whitt as pass game coordinator/secondary coach, Al Holcomb as run game coordinator/linebackers coach, Chris Jones as senior defensive assistant, Tosh Lupoi as defensive line coach, John Lilly as tight ends coach, John Parrella as assistant defensive line coach and Jeff Blasko as assistant offensive line coach. In addition, Adam Henry will remain wide receivers coach and DeWayne Walker will remain defensive backs coach.
Joe Whitt enters his 13th season in the NFL in 2018 and first with the Browns as the team’s pass game coordinator/secondary coach. Whitt spent the last 11 years with the Green Bay Packers, where he helped the team win Super Bowl XLV.
Whitt comes to the Browns after serving as the Packers defense-pass game coordinator in 2018. Prior to his promotion last season, Whitt was the team’s secondary/cornerbacks coach from 2009-17. During that time, he coached the Packers to a league-high 176 interceptions and a No. 9 ranking in opponent passer rating (83.2). In the same span, the Packers also ranked No. 7 in opponent completion percentage (59.8) and No. 7 in touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.34). He also saw CBs Tramon Williams (18) and Sam Shields (15) combine for 33 interceptions from 2010-14, the most in the league during that time between two teammates. Whitt helped Williams and Shields earn Pro Bowl selections.
In 2009, Whitt coached veteran CB Charles Woodson to the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from The Associated Press. Woodson earned three consecutive Pro Bowl nods under Whitt from 2009-11.Also during his time with the Packers, Whitt was instrumental in the development of current Browns DB Damarious Randall. A first-round selection by Green Bay in 2015, Randall tied for second among all NFL rookie with three interceptions. In 2012, he guided CB Casey Hayward to the All-Rookie Team by Pro Football Weekly/PFWA, becoming the first Green Bay CB to earn a spot on the team. Hayward also finished third in voting for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by The Associated Press.
In Whitt’s first three seasons as cornerbacks coach, the Packers led the NFL in interceptions twice (2009 and 2001) posted 85 total picks. It was the most by the Packers over a three-year period since 1943-45 (95) and the most by an NFL team since the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers each posted 86 from 1986-88.
Whitt came to Green Bay in 2008 as a defensive quality control coach after spending 2007 with the Atlanta Falcons as an assistant defensive backs coach. He broke into the NFL coaching ranks after a five-year stint in college football with The Citadel (2002) and Louisville (2003-07).
Whitt played collegiately at Auburn as a walk-on wide receiver and eventually earned a scholarship. After several injuries, he transitioned into a student assistant coach for his final two years of school and graduated in 2001 with a degree in communications.
A native of Auburn, Ala., he and his wife, Ericka, have a son, Joseph Barrington, and two daughters, Ava Jeneé and Zoë Jade.
This will mark Holcomb’s 11th season coaching in the NFL and 25th overall as a coach. Holcomb has spent the past six seasons working with Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Holcomb spent 2018 as Arizona’s defensive coordinator following five (2013-17) seasons as Carolina’s linebackers coach. Under his guidance, linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis became one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL. Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, was chosen to five consecutive Pro Bowls and was named first team All-Pro four times. He also led the NFL with 153 tackles in 2014. Davis made three consecutive Pro Bowls and was named first team All-Pro in 2015. He reached the 100 tackle plateau in four of five seasons under Holcomb. The pair also excelled off the field as Kuechly was selected as the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner, while Davis was named the 2014 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. In 2015, he helped the Panthers advance to Super Bowl 50.
Holcomb joined the Panthers in 2013 after four seasons (2009-12) with the New York Giants where he worked as a defensive assistant (2009-10) and defensive quality control coach (2011-12). He helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI.
Holcomb participated in the NFL’s minority internship program during minicamp and training camp in 2007 with the New York Jets.
Prior to working in the NFL, Holcomb spent 14 seasons as an assistant coach on the college level. He was the defensive line coach at Lafayette for three seasons (2006-08), tutoring five different defensive linemen to All-Patriot League honors. He worked as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Kutztown University (2004-05) in addition to being the interim head coach in the winter of 2005 after spending six years (1998-03) at Bloomsburg University as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.
He began his coaching career at Temple as a graduate assistant in 1995 working with the linebackers before serving as linebackers coach, assistant track coach and physical education instructor at Colby College in 1997.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Holcomb graduated from West Virginia with a degree in sport management and earned a master’s degree in athletic coaching in 1996. He and his wife, Toni, have a son, Alex.
Jones enters his first season in the NFL after 17 years in the Canadian Football League coaching ranks, where he helped his teams to four Grey Cup championships and was named CFL Coach of the Year in 2018.
Jones comes to the Browns after three seasons as the Saskatchewan Roughriders vice-president of football operations, general manager and head coach. Under his tutelage, the Roughriders improved from a five-win season in 2016 to a 10-8 record in 2017 and a 12-6 tally last year.
Prior to joining the Roughriders, Jones spent two seasons (2014-15) as the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos, totaling a 26-10 record and capture the Grey Cup in 2015. He was a CFL Coach of the Year finalist in both of his seasons at the helm.
Jones joined the CFL in 2002 as a defensive line coach with the Montreal Alouettes and spent six seasons with the team, including the last five as defensive coordinator. He joined the Calgary Stampeders in 2008 and spent four seasons with them, before joining the Toronto Argonauts for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
In his 17 seasons in the CFL, Jones’ teams missed the playoffs only once and played in 13 division finals and seven Grey Cup games. He possesses four Grey Cup rings (2002, 2008, 2012 and 2015).
Jones began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee Tech University in 1995 and also spent time at Alabama (1997), UT Martin (1998) and Tennessee Tech (1999-01).
He is a native of South Pittsburg, Tenn.
Lupoi has coached on the collegiate level the past 11 years, including the last five seasons at Alabama.
At Alabama, Lupoi joined the staff as a defensive analyst for the 2014 season and coached the outside linebackers in 2015. He added the title of co-defensive coordinator prior to the 2016 season and served as defensive coordinator in 2018. During his time at Alabama, the Crimson Tide qualified to the College Football Playoffs all five seasons, advanced to the National Championship game four times and captured two national championships (2015 and 2017). During his time as coordinator, Alabama led the nation in scoring defense in 2016 (13.0 ppg) and 2017 (11.9). The school also finished second in the nation in total defense in 2016 (260.4 ypg) and 2017 (261.8 ypg). Lupoi worked with several players who went on to be first round picks in the NFL including DE Jonathan Allen, LB Rueben Foster, S Minkah Fitzpatrick, NT Daron Payne and LB Rashaan Evans.
Prior to Alabama, Lupoi was the defensive run game coordinator and defensive line coach at the University of Washington from 2012-13. Two of the players he coached during that time earned All-America honors in outside linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha and defensive lineman Danny Shelton. Kikaha led the country with 19 sacks in 2013, while Shelton would go on to be a first round draft pick by the Browns in 2015.
Lupoi served at the defensive line coach at California for four years (2008-11), becoming the youngest full-time coach in Cal history when he joined the staff at the age of 26 in 2008. The Rivals Recruiter of the Year in 2010, Lupoi helped sign California classes that ranked No. 11 nationally in 2011 and No. 14 in 2010. He developed multiple NFL draft picks during his tenure at Cal, including future first round selections Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu.
As a player, Lupoi was a defensive lineman for Cal from 2000-05. He led the Bears' defensive line in tackles in 2003 and earned Pac-10 All-Academic recognition in 2005. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in American studies in 2005 and completed coursework toward a master's in education.
Lupoi played high school football at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., one of the most successful programs in the history of prep football, where he earned all-state honors and won a national title.
He is married to the former Jordan Pelluer.
John Lilly brings more than 25 years of coaching experience to the Browns’ staff.
Lilly spent 2018 at the University of Tennessee as the assistant to the head coach following a one-year stint (2016) at the Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach. With the Rams, he helped tight end Lance Kendricks record a career-high 50 receptions.
Before joining the Rams, Lilly coached tight ends at the University of Georgia from 2008-15. During his eight seasons at UGA, the Bulldogs won 74 games, including five bowl victories and two SEC East titles. Lilly was part of several record-setting seasons: 72 touchdowns in 2012, 484.14 yards per game in 2013 and 41.3 points per game in 2014. All were the best marks in school history. He also helped shape future NFL draft picks Orson Charles (fourth round) and Arthur Lynch (fifth round). Charles, a current Brown, set the school record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,370.
Lilly also guided Georgia’s punt unit, which included Ray Guy Award winner Drew Butler, who led the nation in net punting average (41.95) and was named a consensus All-American in 2009. He also worked with NFL kicker Blair Walsh.
Lilly spent 13 seasons at Florida State. He started as a videographer in 1995 before becoming a graduate assistant in 1996-97 and ultimately the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator from 1998-07. The Seminoles had a tremendous amount of success during Lilly’s tenure, including winning the 1999 national championship. FSU routinely brought in some of the nation’s top recruiting classes with Lilly leading the charge, including a stretch from 2002 to 2007 where each class ranked in the top four in the country. In 2006, he coached Brandon Warren, the first tight end in school history to receive freshman All-America honors and only the third tight end ever at FSU to receive All-America recognition.
Lilly began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Northwest Guilford High School in Greensboro, N.C. from 1991-94.
He played quarterback, wide receiver and special teams at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C.
Lilly is married to the former Cheryl Brown and they have two daughters, Allison Catherine and Abigail Christine, and one son, Caleb Jackson.
In addition to 10 years of experience as a coach, Parrella played 12 seasons in the NFL as a defensive tackle.
Parrella spent 2018 developing professional football hopefuls at The Spring League an elite development league and scouting showcase for professional football talent.
Parrella spent two years (2016-17) coaching the defensive line at his alma mater, Nebraska. In his first season leading Nebraska’s defensive line, the front combined for 185 tackles, 17 sacks, 35 tackles for loss and was part of a defense that ranked in the top 35 nationally in total defense and scoring defense. He had two players earn honorable mention Big Ten honors.
Prior to Nebraska, Parrella spent two seasons (2014-15) in the same capacity at Northern Michigan and served as an assistant coach at Chabot Junior College in Hayward, Calif. in 2013. While at Chabot, the school won the Golden Gate Conference and the Top of the State Bowl, capturing the Central Division Championship.
Parrella got his start coaching at the high school level from 2008-12 at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif. Parrella started the varsity program and guided the team to four straight North Coast Section Division IV playoff appearances.
As a defensive tackle at Nebraska from 1988-92, Parrella was an All-Big Eight selection and a three-year letter winner. He was a team captain during his senior season and was also a member of three Big Eight title teams during his career. In 1992, he was second on the team with 77 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, earning first team all-conference honors. Parrella was also the 1992 Nebraska Lifter of the Year and was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He earned his degree in child, youth and family sciences.
A second-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 1993, Parrella started 111 of 172 career games from 1993-04. He totaled 407 tackles, 26.5 sacks, 21 pass breakups, forced six fumbles and recovered three. A was a member of two teams that appeared in the Super Bowl during his career, including one with the Bills (XXVIII) and one with the Oakland Raiders (XXXVII).
A native of Grand Island, Neb., he and his wife, Leigh, have four sons, Zach, Cal, Alex and Jake, along with their daughter, Grace.
Blasko has spent the past three years with the Green Bay Packers. He was originally hired by the Packers in 2016 as a coaching administrator and was elevated to assistant offensive line coach under current Browns associate head coach/offensive line coach James Campen in 2017. Blasko helped OT David Bakhtiari earn first team All-Pro honors in 2018 and second team honors in 2016 and 2017.
Prior to the NFL, Blasko spent eight years in the college coaching ranks. He started out with a three-year stint (2008-10) as a graduate assistant at the University of Akron, then moved on to the University of Florida in 2011 as the offensive quality control coach. Blasko also assisted the University of Kansas (2012-14) and the University of Pennsylvania (2015) as the teams’ tight ends coach.
Blasko coached on the high school level for six seasons, serving as an offensive assistant at Steel Valley in Munhall, Pa., from 2002-05 and as an offensive assistant at Bethel Park (Pa.) from 2006-07.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Blasko graduated from Robert Morris University with a bachelor’s degree in information sciences in 2005 and earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Akron in 2009.
Blasko and his wife, Katie, have a son, Tommy.