1. Paul Brown: 1946-1962
Whenever a team is named after you, you know you have done something right. Paul Brown was the first head coach of the Cleveland Browns and was also the general manager and part-owner of the team. He had ties to Ohio coaching as he was at Ohio State before Cleveland and even lured some of his former players to his professional team.
Brown was the coach for the team from 1946 all the way through 1962 and coached some of the biggest names this franchise has ever had the pleasure of putting on the field. Otto Graham, Bill Willis, Marion Motley, and Mac Speedie were just some of the names he had the pleasure of coaching.
In his 17 seasons with Cleveland, Brown was 158-48-8 with a 9-5 mark in the playoffs. He dominated the AAFC, winning a title four years in a row from 1946-1949. He then won an NFL Championship in 1950, which was their first season in the NFL. Brown led them to two more titles in 1954 and 1955.
Eventually, Art Modell fired Brown, which was one of the first things that really turned Modell into a villain in Cleveland. Brown then headed to Cincinnati and founded a new team, the Bengals. He coached there for eight years and while he didn’t have the same success, his family is still in charge of that franchise.
Even after he was gone, Brown was able to help the team indirectly. His replacement was Blanton Collier, who was our second-best coach in this rankings. Collier was an assistant under Brown and surely learned plenty from him that helped him lead the team to several more successful seasons.
To this day, the team has never had close to the success they had while their namesake was running the franchise.